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The Call (Halle Berry) - DVD Review

The Call

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

IT’S always a shame when a film that displays such strong early credentials ends badly. Indeed, the stronger the start, the more disappointing the overall experience when that promise falls to pieces.

Halle Berry’s The Call fits into the latter category: especially disappointing. For its opening two third, Brad Anderson crafts a taut, suspenseful thriller based on the type of premise that just might really happen.

It focuses on a veteran Los Angeles emergency services operator, named Jordan (Berry), who six months after failing to prevent a home intruder from abducting and subsequently killing a teenage girl, takes a new call from another teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who says she is locked in the trunk of a kidnapper’s car.

As mentioned, the early race-against-time scenario, as Jordan attempts to reassure her caller while tracking her location, is both pulse-quickening and intelligent and draws competent performances from both Berry and Breslin.

But the final third, which adheres more to the conventions of exploitation cinema, and which also requires Berry to leave the office and come over all gung-ho, is a shambles that destroys all of the film’s hard-fought integrity.

It’s a baffling creative decision but one that smacks of a film being built around a concept more than a coherent idea. But it’s insulting to the intelligence and, worse still, sickening in the way that it plays out. The final scenes, in particular, flirt more with torture porn dynamics than the psychological elements that made the opening scenes so gripping.

It means that The Call isn’t really an experience worth taking.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 98mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: January 27, 2014