THE CALL: A Review

THE CALL: A Review by Salty Kernel, Nick Stanbrook

 

The Call, is an action thriller, focusing on a 911 operator Jordan (Halle Berry) as she takes a call from teenager Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin) who is being kidnapped.

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

The Call is intense. It jumps straight into the action and suspense. Jordan receives a call from a young blonde girl as a man tries to break into her house. The phone call cuts out, and Jordan tries to reconnect the call. This gives the girls location away and the bad guy comes in and takes the girl. Jordan is overwhelmed by guilt. Flash forward 6 months and she receives a very similar call.  The Call wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it was good solid Hollywood thriller. It built tension, and I was genuinely on the edge of my seat. Abigail Breslin was really good, she managed to pull off freaked out, scared shitless teenage girl, without making me hate her and want her dead.

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

The use of quick cuts and extreme close-ups during the intense scenes, really helped to make it feel frantic, like there was reason to panic.

Something I thought that was done really well, was the antagonist. The kidnapper, Michael Foster, played by a relatively unknown actor, Michael Eklund. He does a really good job of playing a normal guy, with his crazy side lurking just beneath the surface. His character was realistic. How he reacted to people nearly finding out he had a teenage girl trapped in the boot of his car was, well, as believable as I would expect someone with a teenage girl in their boot to react. Michael Foster was by far the most thought out and most complex of all the characters. He had a very interesting and very creepy motivation that was revealed gradually and with subtlety.  I don’t want to give too much away, because it was actually really interesting, but it is done well, building tension slowly, giving us little bits of information, to keep us wanting more but not revealing everything all at once. As viewers we connect to a film so much more if we feel like we are actually discovering things, and learning about who these people are on our own. It is something majorly lacking from most mainstream films.

If only this applied to the rest of the characters. We are left not really knowing anything about anyone. There is never that real connection and care.

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

The Call touched on some really interesting themes: 911 Operators have to accept that they can never have closure. Once they hang up they never get to find out what happens to the person on the other end of the line. They have to deal with talking people through what could be there last moments alive. They cannot get emotionally involved or make promises that they cannot keep. Some really deep themes, that are emotionally powerful, yet The Call spends all of a minute mentioning them and then never exploring further.

Apart from that and some poor use of dialog, things were looking all right.

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

Up until about ¾ of the way in.

Things went downhill, like down a cliff face into a gaping plot hole.  It got bad, I mean really bad. The whole premise of the film was based around a phone call, and the struggle between being so close and in contact but not actually being able to save the girl.

Well, the phone call ended, and the movie kept going. Jordan the 911 emergency call operator, decided to take things into her own hands.

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

Hundreds of police arrived at the suspected location of the kidnapper, they looked around for about 5 minutes, then they all left, no crime scene, no police officer waiting in a car in case the kidnapper returned. But Jordan decided that this is where she would look. She went into the house looked around then walked outside and somehow found a trapdoor. Everyone is thinking, just call the police and it will be over. No, Jordan proceeds to open the door, and look down. Please just call the police! But no she continues to look down and inspect the hole in the ground. Finally she pulls out her phone to call the police and end the movie. Oh wait no she fumbles the phone and drops it into the hole. If a crucial turning point in a movie’s plot is the dropping of a phone in a hole, then something is seriously wrong. But wait there is more, once down into the secret basement, Jordan picks up her phone and sees that she has no reception. So she climbs back out of the hole and calls the police the movie ends. No of course not! Acting logically would be too easy. Instead of calling the police Jordan decides to explore the underground area. I will leave it at that, because I don’t want to spoil the fun for you, but trust me it is this ridiculous for the rest of the movie. THE REST OF THE MOVIE!

 

The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen
The Call starring Halle Berry and Abigail Breslen

 

All in all it was an odd experience.  The theatre I was in burst out laughing at several points in the movie, particularly by the end. Although the last quarter was terrible, I still enjoyed it. Probably not for the reasons the director intended. Or he had planned it the whole way through to be a satire, in which case well played.

I have been struggling to figure out exactly how I feel about this movie. I can see why it is terrible, I know the mistakes, however, I think there might have been some enjoyment in there. The first ¾ of the movie were genuinely suspenseful and action packed., but the last quarter was goofy and ridiculous. It lost everything that it had going for it like the rest of the movie, but it was funny and the ending was in a twisted way somewhat satisfying, albeit outrageously implausible.

It is hard to sum up this movie. It was going alright, then it just got ridiculous, but it wasn’t all bad.

Lets go with 2 ½ /5 pops.

 

2 and a Half Pops