Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Call


It's Already Done

8.0 out of 10 | Movie or DVD

Rated: R Violence, some language and disturbing images.
Release Date: March 15, 2013
Runtime: 1 hour 35 minutes

Director: Brad Anderson
Writers: Richard D'Ovidio, Nicole D'Ovidio, Jon Bokenkamp
Cast: Halle Berry, Abogail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga, Michael Imperioli, Justina Machado, Evie Thompson

SYNOPSIS: When veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner receives a call from a girl who has just been abducted, she soon realizes that she must confront a killer from her past in order to save the girl's life.

REVIEW: Transsiberian, Session 9, and The Machinist director Brad Anderson returns from a series of small screen directorial efforts. Thir13en Ghosts screenwriter Richard D'Ovidio, first-time writer Nicole D'Ovidio, and Taking Lives scribe Jon Bokenkamp deliver a tale of 911 support, suspense, and action for Academy Award winner Halle Berry.

911 operator Jordan Turner (Hale Berry, Cloud Atlas) is a dedicated capable worker. That is until a 911 call by Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson, Last Man Standing) during a home invasion goes wrong shakes Jordan from her confidence and her abilities. When the person reporting the 911 the call is found dead and buried a few days later, Jordan decides to leave 'The Hive' of the 911 call operators to become a staff trainer. Six months later, while Jordan was on a routine training session in 'The Hive', a one-year rookie gets a phone call from a girl abducted in stuffed into the trunk of a car. When the novice 911 operator can't handle the call Jordan steps in to talk to the girl Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin, New Year's Eve) and help talk her through ways to get the attentions of the authorities. Unfortunately, the abductor Michael Foster (Michael Eklund, The Divide) is more persistent and determined to keep Casey for himself. During her shift, Jordan loses Casey's signal and doesn't know what to do or where to turn. Even with her boyfriend Officer Paul Phillips (Morris Chestnut, Identity Thief) on the job for the search for Casey, Jordan finds that she can't leave the situation alone. When she discovers more information about who the abductor is she may have just sealed her own fate.

Touted as a suspense thriller The Call, in my humble opinion, lives up to expectation. From the opening scene with Jordan dealing with a 911 call gone horribly wrong, to the climatic confrontations at the end, The Call is quick paced, filled with intrigue, and a few jolts along the way. Some of the scares are classic and expected, but Brad Anderson manages to throw couple scares in there that the audience never sees coming.

An exercise in the suspense/thriller genre, the story focuses solely on Halle Berry's Jordan, Abigail Breslin's Casey and Michael Eklund's Michael Foster. The Little Miss Sunshine actress is almost all grown up and proves it with her character's determination and fight for her own survival - with Jordan's shaky, but calming and supportive voice. I say it all the time like a broken record but the heroes are only as good as their villains. Michael Eklund's Foster is as solid a villain as you could ask for. Eklund played a phenomenal loving brother turn psychopath in The Divide and uses that talents to ratchet up the creepiness and unnerving tone in every scene he is in.

The Call is a fine suspense/thriller, as well as a fine game of cat and mouse between an unsure 911 operator and an unhinged neurotic killer. The birth and psychology of Eklund's serial killer is Bates Motel creepy. It may be the month of March - the old dumping ground of unwanted films - but once or twice a year in March, a film lives up to pre-Summer expectations.

There are a few obvious silly genre tactics that warrant at-screen commentary. One involves the 911 operator's tether to the people they serve - a phone that ends up being to slippery to hold onto. Another is not knowing well enough to call the authorities (irony) when the situation becomes a little too much for one girl to have to deal with, especially when the girl's boyfriend is a strapping young officer of the law.

The Call is a suspense/thriller worth your time and energy. Berry conveys the perfect balance of urgency and fear. Eklund's Foster could be a Boy Scout leader just as easily as the psycho he is. And Abigail Breslin has grown up enough to be vulnerable, but capable. You may need to finally make the call.

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