The Call Movie Review
Go figure. A Halle Berry movie that's actually fun to watch? The Call has the Oscar-winning-actress-who-has-yet-to-deliver-another-great-performance playing a 911 operator who becomes instrumental in a manhunt for a kidnapped teenager. Surprisingly, The Call is an entertaining thrill ride.
The Call is one of those early year suspense thrillers that rely more on concept than quality, where big actors like Halle Berry sign on to make some extra cash with no expectation the movie will win them any awards (this has been Berry's career approach ever since 2001's Monsters Ball). Often these movies are stupid a waste of time; occasionally they work.
The Call works.
The movie isn't exceptionally written, but it has a decent script and a good concept. The idea of a 911 operator who has to coordinate a manhunt in real time while she's on the phone with the kidnapping victim is actually pretty clever, and director Brad Anderson (Transsiberian, The Machinist) manages to make the film fast-paced and exciting, even though the main protagonist spends most of her time sitting at a computer terminal.
Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) does a good job as the victim.
The first two acts work very well, avoiding many of the pitfalls that often plague concept thrillers. The actions taken by the characters generally make sense and remain believable, which makes the final act so disappointing.
In the final act, Anderson and screenwriter Richard D'Ovidio drop the concept that made most of the movie so good - a kidnapping victim remaining on the phone with a 911 operator - and resort to standard thriller clichés, with Berry's character somehow winding up at the kidnapper's hideout without police backup (and proceeds to do stupid things like dropping her cell phone down a hole, etc.). It's understandable why the filmmakers felt they needed to depart from the phone call dynamic at some point, but it would have been much more interesting and believable had they somehow managed to keep Berry on the phone and let the cops do the rest.
Also, the film's final minute is laughably absurd.
The Call is an entertaining thriller that unfortunately falls apart toward the end. Still, it's worth seeing, even if it ultimately amounts to nothing more than a fun-but-mindless thrill ride.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.