The Call review

Halle Berry hasn't had much luck with her movies of late, but this well-paced thriller did OK at the US box office and the Oscar winner gives a good account of herself. She plays a 911 call centre operator, frazzled at being partly responsible for the death of a girl by a pyscho killer. Now training up new recruits she takes a call from a troubled teen (Breslin) who has been kidnapped by the very same killer. For much of the way poor Breslin is stuck in the boot of the killer's car, speaking on her mobile to Berry who is rooted to the spot giving her guidance and instructions.

Tension is nicely sustained as we cut to and fro between the confined surroundings of the car and the huge open plan office where Berry is employed - and when a nosy driver's curiosity is aroused by the suspicious car boot, some good jolts are thrown in for good measure. Director Anderson keeps the nail biting narrative on track with solid ease. One buys the premise and surrenders to it with good grace when it is efficiently delivered like this.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart in the final third. Plot mechanics require Berry to leave her station of work and once this happens the thriller's edifice crumbles. The climax is simply ludicrous, all credibility being thrown out for a time worn and generic set piece that will make you howl with derision. This is a great shame as up until this point The Call has done a good job at providing some white-knuckle suspense. A pity it goes for naught when the climax is so patently absurd.

The Call at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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