The Call – 2013
Director Brad Anderson
Starring Halle Berry, Morris Chestnutt, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund, Michael Imperioli, David Otunga, José Zúñiga, Denise Dowse
Screenplay Richard D’Ovidio
Emergency call support has to be one of the least rewarding professions. If everything goes right, you are usually disconnected by the time something good happens. What you do get to hear is often something bad. In The Call, 9-1-1 Operator Jordan Turner (Berry) hears the worst possible thing: a kidnapping of a young girl. This turns out so badly, that Jordan retires from active service, relegating herself to teaching the trade. During one of her classes, she gets a horrific shot at redemption when a young recruit gets a call from Casey Welson (Breslin), who has just woken up after getting kidnapped. Through some inventive suggestions, Jordan gets Casey to show her location. Her actions throw a spanner in the works, but do not save Casey.
The first half of The Call is absolutely riveting. Breslin, Berry, Ekart and Chestnutt are all in top form. The actions are logical for the most part. The scenes in the parking lot and the gas station are intense and heart-rending. The supporting cast all look like they have skin in the game.
The moment she leaves her post, though, logic goes out the window. Just one question needs to be asked: why in the hell would the cops leave?
It’s a shame, really, because the Berry is rarely this good. The role is a plumb one, and women rarely have opportunities so inventive as this in middle age. Let’s face it, there’s only going to be so many more X-Men movies for her. By turning the movie into conventional action, the film, the filmmakers bow to the demand of marketplace, without having the courage to stick it out artistically. The result may seem liberating for women, until you realize that they are just acting as placeholders for men. The end is as fantastic as it is unrealistic.
How wonderful a film would this have been had they had an able-bodied woman use her mind and solve this movie Ironsides style? For those of you who do not understand the reference, you probably don’t remember when they told stories that weren’t tested by a crowd of “‘Muricans” that they found outside of a Casino in Vegas.
(*** out of *****)