Film Title: The Call
Director: Brad Anderson
Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund, Morris Chestnut
Running Time: 11 min
Brad Anderson, the stylish operator behind The Machinist and a cache of Fringe episodes, brings high concept and high-wire thrills to a multiplex near you.
The Call puts Halle Berry centre stage – where she belongs – as an operator in a 911 response centre. Between dispatching ambulances, cops and other vehicles that make “nee naw” noises, our heroine plays aural witness to a brutal slaying, an event that messes up her head and halts a romance with a dashing police officer (the amiable Morris Chestnut).
She retires to a desk job – to teaching, in fact – and isn’t meant to be manning the phones when Abigail Breslin calls up. The former juvenile star of Little Miss Sunshine – nowadays a pretty blonde teen – has been snatched and stashed in a car boot by Michael Eklund’s Buffalo Bill Lite. Does Ms Berry know enough tricks of the trade to give the kidnapped girl a fighting chance? You bet she does.
For most of the run time, The Call stays faithful to its central conceit. While it does it’s a classy, claustrophobic thriller bolstered by a quartet of reliable thespians and splendid cross-cuts. When the film moves away from the response centre and out into an increasingly implausible “real world”, all hell breaks loose.
Admittedly, the movie’s enjoyment factor is enhanced, rather than diminished, by this swerve away from logic.
Should we complain that, by the end, The Call feels like a drinking game? Hell, no. Take two shots every time Halle Berry does something crazy and unlikely.
We’re not surprised that a sequel has already been commissioned: the film was an unexpected box-office smash Stateside. But we are taken aback that Berry never turns to camera and says the title of the film. It’s that sort of flick. Fun, in other words.