Monday, 22 September 2014

The Call - film review

Halle Berry is such an appealing actor that she improves any film in which she appears. This is just as well, as she's appeared in some rather poor movies over the years, as well as a number of good ones. The Call, which first hit the cinemas last year, ranks as a good one in my book, even though it's had mixed reviews, partly because the story changes for the worst in the latter stages.

Berry plays a senior operator working in a 911 emergency call centre. This is a fascinating setting. I was once lucky enough to be given a guided tour of an ambulance headquarters, and I was hugely impressed by the calm efficiency of the staff working on the emergency phones. It can be a stressful job, and when our heroine takes a call from a young blonde-haired girl who is abducted and then murdered, she blames herself - a mistaken reaction, but a very human one.

Six months later, another call come in from a blonde-haired teenager (played by Abigail Breslin). She too has been abducted -in a car park, by a mysterious character played by Michael Eklund, and has been bundled into the boot of the bad guy's car. He does not, however, take the precaution, of removing her mobile phone, and the tension builds as Berry talks Breslin through a series of escapades designed to attract attention so that the police can rescue her. But things go badly wrong, and Eklund murders two men who happen to get in his way.

I thought these scenes were gripping, but the film falters somewhat when Berry, having finished her shift, decides to play detective and track down Breslin herself. Very unwise! Eklund's behaviour becomes increasingly deranged, and towards the end, The Call turns into a common or garden slasher movie, although the ending is quite neatly done. Overall, I enjoyed the film. Not a masterpiece, but well worth a watch.

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