Review: 'The Call'
Mar 16, 2013 (Tulsa World - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
From the minute it starts to the minute it ends, "The Call" will keep viewers' adrenaline pumping.
The film opens in "the hive," the Los Angeles 911 call center where the buzz of operators' phone ringers and voices does not cease.
Cast: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin
Theaters: Cinemark Tulsa, AMC Southroads 20, Cinemark Broken Arrow, Owasso, Starworld 20
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Rated: R (for violence, disturbing content and some language)
Quality: (on a scale of zero to four stars)
There are real emergencies and fake emergencies, funny phone calls and scary phone calls. No matter the situation, the rule is always this: Operators must stay emotionally detached from the person reporting the emergency.
But veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) doesn't always stick to that rule. After a call gone bad, a girl is kidnapped and murdered, and Jordan feels she's to blame. She can no longer handle the pressure on the call floor and instead becomes an instructor for the department, training new operators.
Six months after that incident, Jordan finds herself back on the line with Casey (Abigail Breslin), a teen who has been abducted and is calling from the car trunk she's been placed in. She's using a prepaid phone, so her call is untraceable.
This time, Jordan is determined to save the girl.
Everyone watching "The Call" will realize just how implausible its plot is. There is one coincidence too many, close call after close call and a series of lucky breaks that just don't happen in real life.
But even so, this thriller is thoroughly gripping. Watching the police and Jordan put together the pieces, as ready-to-assemble as they were, was fun. And you won't want to take your eyes off the screen in the scenes when the psychotic abductor (Michael Eklund) loses control.
"The Call" isn't a movie that gives you time to get to know your characters. But it's an example of how people can still care about the well-being of strangers -- like the 911 operators do every day -- without knowing their back stories.
Director Brad Anderson ("Transsiberian," "Session 9") and screenwriter Richard D'Ovidio are clearly just out to entertain viewers with this film. And entertain they do, fairly well.
Until the end that is, when a ridiculous surprise ending has the potential to ruin the whole movie for you if you let it.
Nour Habib 918-581-8369
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