The Call, 2013.
Directed by Brad Anderson.
Starring Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund, Morris Chestnut, Michael Imperioli and David Otunga.
When a veteran 911 operator takes a life-altering call from a teenage girl who has just been abducted, she realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl’s life.
One thing I’ve come to dislike about films are their trailers. Not that I dislike trailers in general but nowadays it seems like almost every trailer gives away too much of the film. That was certainly the case with The Call. Whoever edited the trailer wasn’t paying much attention as they just gave away way too much and also made the film look atrocious at the same time. Thankfully, The Call is somewhat better than the trailer would lead you to believe.
Halle Berry stars as Jordan Turner, a 911 operator who made a crucial error during a call that led to an unfortunate event. Several months later she’s working as an operator trainer when a similar call comes in to a fellow operator. Unsure of what to do, the operator hands over the call to Jordan who just hasn’t been the same since the previous incident. On the phone is Casey (Abigail Breslin), a teenage girl who has just been abducted and is in the trunk of a car owned by a mysterious man. Jordan is now thrown back into almost the exact same situation she found herself in months before and this time she is determined not to fail.
What is surprising about The Call is how tense most of the scenes actually end up being. Director Brad Anderson (The Machinist) is able to inject enough intensity to keep the film thoroughly entertaining. It does lose steam in the final act and the ending just doesn’t feel right but just about everything leading up to this is pretty good. They also have a small side story involving Jordan’s police officer boyfriend, played by Morris Chestnut, that really doesn’t need to be there.
Abigail Breslin is an actress I’ve never really been too fond of; sure, she was decent in Little Miss Sunshine, but other than that I’ve never seen her give what I would call a good performance. With this film it felt like I would have cared about the kidnapped girl a bit more had they had a better actress playing the part, because Breslin honestly didn’t sell it for me. Berry on the other hand is quite good as the lead. She really does put a good deal of emotion into her character and you want to see her succeed in the end. As for the villain of the film (Michael Eklund), he’s a little too hit and miss. At times he’s truly frightening but then there are many other moments where his performance is just laughable and the character just ends up being a too inconsistent.
All in all, The Call does provide some decent entertainment. Halle Berry gives a good performance and there are many tense moments, but the last act just doesn’t work, and a few better performances would have helped out as well.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★