Review: THE CALL (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Review: THE CALL (2013)

What? You want my Oscar in exchange of that girl?
A taut, high-concept thriller anchored with solid direction by Brad Anderson and an exciting performance by Halle Berry, but suffers from conventional, yet improbable conclusion.

A return to form after a minor setback in 2011's VANISHING ON 7TH STREET, Brad Anderson's THE CALL is a taut, high-concept thriller blessed with solid direction and amazing cast all around (particularly for Halle Berry).

WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a veteran 911 operator in the Los Angeles headquarters called "The Hive". Her job is highly stressful which requires her to stay sharp and focused all the time during a series of endless calls on the phone. But she is very good on what does, until one day she made a huge mistake that causes the death of a teenage girl (Evie Louise Thompson) at the hands of a sociopath (Michael Eklund). Six months later, Jordan is now working as a teacher who educates a group of young trainees on a tour of the Hive. When an inexperienced operator receives a frantic call from Casey (Abigail Breslin), who is locked in the trunk of a speeding car after being abducted in a parking lot, Jordan quickly takes over and tries to resolve the situation. Unfortunately she is unable to trace the call since Casey is calling from a disposable handphone with no GPS tracker. So Jordan does her best to calm Casey and preparing her to fight for survival while the LAPD is trying their best to track her whereabouts. 

THE GOOD STUFF
 
Who could have thought that a (mainly) two-person show centers on an emergency call between a 911 operator and an abducted victim can be this gripping? Blessed with a tight screenplay by Richard D'Ovidio, Brad Anderson knows equally well how to craft a compelling psychological thriller that keep the viewers engaged at all time. Halle Berry oozes plenty of likable charm and toughness as Jordan, while Abigail Breslin manages to pull off quite a satisfying performance who spends most of the time either looking terrified and screaming her lungs out. Michael Eklund delivers a deeply disturbing performance as a sociopath who develops a fetish for blonde girls.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT(S)

THE CALL is best seen during the first hour when Brad Anderson sticks to a gripping scenario during an emergency call between Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin.

THE BAD STUFF 

Once the "emergency call" premise is booted off to give way for "this time it's personal" final act, the movie starts to lose its momentum. Even though the final act has its fair share of creepy moments (particularly about the revelation of the sociopath's motive as well as his murky past), the movie becomes far-fetched (you will know when you see how Jordan and Casey ends up dealing with the sociopath).

FINAL WORDS
 What? You are willing to give up on me because you refuse to give him your Oscar?

While it's obviously far from perfect, THE CALL is no doubt one of the most entertaining psychological thrillers this year.


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