The Call

The Call

“The Call” features Halle Berry as a 911 Operator who gets involved with a kidnapping in progress and attempts to talk the victim through a series of things she can do in order to help the police track her down.

Surprisingly, it puts together a halfway decent movie for 3/4 of its runtime.

Unfortunately, the final act is a ludicrous, laughable, let down.

Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) is a 911 operator who makes a mistake on the job that has fatal consequences. When a caller is disconnected during a home invasion, Jordan makes the mistake of redialing the home. The ringing phone gives away the hiding spot of the young girl who called, and the intruder, who was about to leave, returns to finish the job.

With the death of a young girl on her hands, Jordan has trouble returning to her headset. In fact, when she returns to work, she transitions into a trainer’s capacity. However, when another young girl (Abigail Breslin) calls in as she’s being abducted, Jordan is forced to take over the call from an inexperienced operator. She talks the girl, who’s locked in the trunk of a car and calling on a disposable phone with no GPS chip, through a series of steps to make it easier for the police to track her.

When the kidnapper begins to get inconvenienced by the girl’s signals for help, innocent people begin to get caught in the crossfire. Everything escalates as the police close in by following the trail. To top it all off, Jordan eventually realizes that the kidnapper is the same person who killed the girl whose house she called back.

The world of a 911 Operator is something new to me on film. For “The Call”‘s first two acts, we get to see all the distress, all the violence, and all the horror that they have to deal with. Putting one of them in the position of trying to talk a kidnap victim through an ordeal is a clever concept… I’m not suggesting it was a threat to win an Academy Award or anything, but the beginning of the movie was relatively tense, and held my interest well enough. The combination of watching an operator do her thing, with all her notes and codes and communications to Police, plus the kidnapping, was keeping my interest fairly well.

Unfortunately, whatever modicum of goodwill “The Call” amassed during it’s time at “The Hive” (the 911 call center), it completely discarded when Berry’s Jordan went looking for the girl herself, off-shift. The film can’t resist having the finale be a confrontation between her and the kidnapper (shown in trailer, thus not a spoiler), and it winds up paying the price. The final act of this movie is as dumb as anything I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s implausible, poorly scripted, and clichéd. We’re talking serious crash and burn, people.

Berry gives an excellent performance here, for the majority of the film. She’s frightened, empathetic, and determined, all in alternating measures. 911 operator must be a brutal job, and Berry emotional conveys the weight of it for us well. Unfortunately, I don’t think there was much she could do with the finale, it was pointless, and her performance in that portion reflected it.

“The Call” was a middling movie that plummeted to the ranks of the unwatchable with its eye-rolling conclusion. Combined with the fact that it features jarring, annoying direction throughout, it winds up being a film that I can’t recommend to people in good conscience.

D

Daniel Fogarty

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26 thoughts on “The Call

  1. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie Halle Berry was in (I think it was Die Another Day). I’ll be skipping this one. Nice review.

    • Seriously? Wowwwww… that’ll be kind of interesting. I wonder if he/she will like the movie more or dislike the movie more?

      Honestly, that was the best part of the film for me was the behind the scenes 911 stuff. Kind of fascinating due to the fact Hollywood has never showcased it. Unfortunately, after this, they may never again. LOL

      • Well, we had some fun with this one, Fogs, even though it suffers from many of the problems your review described. My friend told me Halle showed up at the downtown 911 facility here in L.A. to do her research for the role awhile back — unfortunately, he’s stationed at the ‘Valley’ operation. Drats! But he did show me pictures of his friends there posing with Ms. Berry. The woman can’t take a bad picture, if she tried. The other thing my friend noticed, some of her dialogue (specifically delivery) in the film he could tell from what operator she lifted from. Some of the procedures, jurisdictions, and other facets of their duties were bypassed to tell the story, too, he said. I rated it slightly higher than you because even with some of its issues (and horror tropes) made for an entertaining mess of a film that was never boring to me. Plus, I happen to like Halle Berry as an actress. It’s not going to make any ‘Best of…’ lists, but at least it didn’t have any sparkling vampires ;-).

      • LOL. True. :D Ha!! It IS free of those.

        Very interesting, very interesting. Hey, Berry has her moments, I actually did think she was good here. The first 2/3rds of the movie were fairly decent. That end, though… man. That was rough.

        Interesting to hear your buddy’s take. Thanks for circling back as promised! :D

  2. So it just couldn’t see a good thing all the way through? I guess I’m not surprised. This one just didn’t interest me at all. But it sounds like it almost pulled it off. Good review as always my friend.

  3. I don’t know how production companies expect to have a successful release when the entire beginning, middle and end are given away in the trailers. Lame.

    • Wellllllll…. When I only saw the trailer, I didnt know they had given everything away. LOL. I guess it was kind of a spoiler for me to tell you the trailer spoils everything, huh? Heh.

      But I definitely did know going in, while I was watching her do her thing on the phone… that at some point she goes face to face against him. :( And that wound up being a big mistake for the movie… that segment’s just not very good.

  4. Can I say I… “called” it? :P

    My thoughts, just watching the trailer, pretty much mirrored yours for the film. Showing a 911 call operator in action is a novel concept for a film, and it could have had great dramatic tension. But when the operator goes and starts doing the job of the police… that’s just stupid. Typical Hollywood though. You watch almost any crime drama and you’ll see somebody doing something that in real life they would get sacked for. Why is it so hard for Hollywood’s police procedurals to actually have their police and associated personnel follow procedure? Can’t tell me it wouldn’t still be engrossing considering all the stuff they have to go through in real life.

    • Ba dum tum, tschhh!! Morgan Lewis, Ladies and Gentlemen! He’s here all week! Try the veal and dont forget to tip your waitress! :D

      It actually WAS pretty good when they had her doing the 911 stuff. I dont want to get carried away about it certainly, but that’s a decent scenario… a 911 operator talking a kidnap victim AS she’s being kidnapped? Yeah, man, it was alright.

      But then, ughgck. Just like you say, it completely ditches the realism. I dont want to go into spoiler territory, but the end was poorly done on TOP of just her “getting directly involved” as well :( Honest, the last half an hour dropped this movie’s score by a good three grades at least. 8O

    • LOL. Yeah, she’s not exactly a scary phone presence. Funny thing is, when they keep her on the phone, the movie was decent. It’s when they put her in the field – like Neeson – that the wheels come off. 8O

  5. You’re putting yourself through the wringer with a lot of poor movies recently Fogs. That’s real commitment you’re showing ;-)
    Think I’ll avoid this. Thanks for the heads-up, man.

  6. Back in the 70′s, the scenario would have gone over well. It’s sometime during the late 80′s and early 90′s that people have become very savey to proper procedures due to the proliferation of reality shows and crime shows that focus on a criminal investigation and how the real detecives actually catch the person.

    It’s the same with the average person’s understanding of technology. We are far more aware of when a movie ‘breaks the rules’ of the possible and not possible, thereby ruining a movie that might have been successful 10 years ago.

    The film industry is having trouble keeping up with, let alone ahead of, the average movie viewer.

  7. Pingback: LAMBScores: The Incredibly Great and Powerful Halle Berry | The Large Association of Movie Blogs

  8. Pingback: The Call Review: Halle Needs a Haircut, Bad | Rorschach Reviews

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