Without the benefit of heart-pounding foot chases or the ring of gunfire chasing the hero into shadows, it’s difficult to produce a convincing, edge-of-your-seat thriller. The Call doesn’t seem to suffer this fate, and is instead an intelligent thriller.
The Call (2012) Film Review
The operation and demands of a 911 call center takes dedication and complete focus. Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) didn’t know just how much the job could affect a person until six months ago. This happens when she makes a distracted fatal error on a 911 call. When the call disconnects, she re-dials which results in the kidnapping and death of a young teenage girl. Now, she’s merely a teacher, the one who trains new 911 operators, a job that helps her feel “safe.” Until now.
Another call comes in from a teenage girl. Only the new trainee who takes the call cannot handle it forcing Jordan to take over. It’s from a blonde-haired teenage girl named Casey (Abigail Breslin). From a mall parking lot, a man takes her and stuffs her into his trunk. Her phone is a disposable cell meaning the call center cannot track it which leaves only Jordan as Casey’s one chance to escape her captor. As Jordan’s past haunts her, Casey’s pleas for help ignite something inside Jordan; she’ll do anything to see her safely returned.
Trailers of this film leave the impression that this will be just another good thriller. After seeing it, I thought it did look good and subsequently forgot about it. It wasn’t until my cousin called wanting to see something that I again remembered The Call. The common thread connecting this to the “average” film in the thriller genre is a kidnapping that weaves into the character’s redemption. What is unique about the script is how gripping the movie is. It pulls us in within the first ten minutes and keeps pace throughout the entire run time.
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Instead of an adrenaline rush through narrow streets where bullets buzz past the protagonist, this is more about the mental game. Over half of the time we spend with the frightened Casey, which compels us to hope for a resolution that is anything but what runs through our minds and we “live” Casey’s paralyzing fear in Jordan’s point of view.
If there is one thing the movie skimps on, it’s the character development which is, for all intents and purposes, nonexistent. With such a concept, it didn’t bother me. I’m far too white-knuckled in an emotional battle rather than worry over reason; the back-story we do get hints of yet never fully explains. With its stupendous cast including Breslin’s fabulous, realistic performance and Berry’s veteran talent (save for some ill decisions, all of which directly contradict our impression of her until then), there is little room for error.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the movie is the lack of “graphic” or gory moments. It has the potential to be a kind of horror film and instead never abuses its rating from a violent standpoint. Despite its R-rating, it still seems considerate of this boundary. This is perhaps why the ending still isn’t quite what it should be. On the one hand, I like it because throughout you expect the worse, but I cannot help feeling as if it’s got too much of a revenge component leaving some viewers with a bad taste. The Call is interesting. It has a great suspense direction and a story that is surprisingly better than average.
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You can find The Call digitally on Amazon Video
CONTENT: there’s six documented F-words, I catch about four. Other minor profanities are present including sh*t, h*ll plus abuses of God’s name. A man scalps a girl [off-screen] and begins to make incisions to do the same to another [she has a small pool of blood on her forehead as a result]. A man rips off a girl’s shirt, leaving her in her bra [for several scenes] and he also sets a man on fire as well as hit another with a shovel and repeatedly stabs him; elsewhere people nearly drown, stabbed and a sequence of events take place in a “torture” underground hall of rooms. There is some innuendo laced conversation [including one or two crude sexual remarks from a teen] as well as a photo of siblings kissing on the lips. There are a couple of minor drug references. This film has an R-rating.