I have to admit The Call is not even nearly as horrible as I thought it would be. In fact, the first hour is MARVELOUS! It’s that last half hour that becomes, ummm, problematic (which is just a nice way to say the movie’s last half hour STINKS!).
Hall Berry stars as Jordan – a top flight 911 call dispatcher who has lost her confidence after she can’t save a young girl from a murderer. Jordan has stepped into the classroom as a trainer, but, while visiting the call dispatch center, a young girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is kidnapped and calls 911 from the trunk of car speeding through Los Angeles.
It’s Jordan’s chance for redemption, but can she help the police find this madman?
Writer Richard D’Ovidio and director Brad Anderson should have spent more time working on that last act, because it almost completely destroys what could have been one of the better movies in months.
Everything about the first hour is perfect. Anderson makes us feel the terror Casey is experiencing. We get claustrophobic trapped in that trunk and fearing the worst is yet to come. We empathize with Jordan, how she is detached from the situation, but also how she is the only hope that kid has of getting out alive. We’re rooting for Jordan and Casey to overcome the bad guy.
The tension is crackling.
Our emotions are raw.
And, you have to love Berry and Breslin. The two are great at drawing in the audience. Berry sparkles when displaying Jordan’s confidence and competence, and doesn’t embarrass herself when the character is letting emotion and anxiety get the best of her, while Breslin will have you almost weeping when little Casey thinks her life is about to come to an end.
Then, Anderson and D’Ovidio screw it all up.
The Call loses all momentum when those scenes of Jordan in the dispatch center and Casey in the car end (and, I am not giving anything away. All you have to do is see one commercial or one trailer to know what happens). That could have been OK, but D’Ovidio comes up with an ending that completely betrays the characters just for some cheap bloodlust satisfaction for the audience. After watching The Call escape the predictable and the clichéd, Anderson and D’Ovidio fall straight into it at the end.
The Call is the classic case of a movie that went one scene too long.
2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)
The Call is rated R for violence, disturbing content and some language