MOVIE REVIEWS

Call

7/10 NR

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It’s Done!

Directed by Brad Anderson and starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin, The Call is one of those infuriating thriller movies that destroys all its hard work with a lame last quarter. The plot is based around a 911 Emergency Call Centre, where Berry works but suffers a breakdown of sorts when an error she makes costs the life of a young girl being stalked by a maniac. Some time later and Breslin is abducted by a whacko and locked in the trunk of his car, which brings Berry back into dutiful action. Can she save the girl this time?

For the most part it’s a sturdy thriller, it’s not breaking new ground or anything, but it has some good ideas and the scenes of Breslin and Berry talking on the phone are well crafted and performed. So far so tightly wound by Anderson. But there’s a point in the movie where you know exactly what is going to happen for the remainder of film. Logic, suspense and credibility is quickly replaced by a roll call of popcorn munching conventions clearly aimed at pleasing the undemanding multiplex goers.

The police are buffoons but thankfully Berry, a phone operator, can do their job for them. Though this comes at a cost to Berry as well. Where earlier there was an actress playing with conviction an interesting and emotionally confused character, now she is reduced to doing the sort of dumb things that happen in laughably bad scream queen movies. Or not as the case may be in one colossal plot hole that is badly attempted to be explained away by the makers!

Such a shame, because both Berry and Breslin turn in good thriller performances, and Michael Eklund is suitably nuts as the serial killer with on-going issues. But they are all better than this screenplay, and deserve better, it feels compromised after such a good start, while Anderson is clearly capable of greater things given he has Session 9, The Machinist and Transsiberian on his CV.

The Call is cautiously recommended to those after a better than average thriller time waster. The lead actors are good value, the direction clean, the premise safe and the production design for the nutter’s lair suitably grotty. If only the writer and the suited financial backers could have been in sync and stayed true to the earlier tone of the pic, then this would have been a bigger hit. 6/10

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