Aza’s 2 Line Review – The Call – 2/3 Servicably Silly Thriller. 1/3 Utterly Stupid, Immoral & Preposterous Comedy.

The Call PosterYou know I am a glutton for B grade flicks. I’m also a glutton for punishment. I’m also a glutton if there’s mandarins around but that’s off topic. THE CALL reads like a serviceable thriller – a call to 911 results in a full day trauma call for a kidnap victim and the operator – and with Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin in the leads it has something going for it.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

Thanks to the invested and overly impassioned performances from Berry and Breslin, THE CALL really works well in its first two thirds. It really shines through when Breslin is trapped in the boot of a car and talking with Berry’s Jordan. Breslin really does shine and outclasses everyone else on show. Even when the ridiculousness of the script crops up you go with it cause the emotive dialogue hooks you in.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

THE CALL is inherently silly. There’s no way the L.A.P.D. would despatch a wall of cop cars, helicopters and have 9-1-1 essentially act as investigators in the kidnap situation presented here. The generic supporting characters have no real depth (especially Morris Chestnut and Michael Imperioli’s utterly thankless roles here) but you’re not meant to care cause they are just window dressing for the 2 leads.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

The film does have a couple of genuinely great moments – one where Breslin’s character asks to write a letter to her family and another where she’s trying to raise awareness of being trapped in a boot – and they will carry you through most of the film…

… And then the 3rd act starts.

The finale of THE CALL is the stupidest, idiotic and utterly hilarious left swing swerve in a plot that I’ve seen in recent memory. Any semblance to the central characters of the 70 minutes prior are long gone for a cheap and nasty SILENCE OF THE LAMBS knock off that doesn’t work at all. Given that there is little, if any, depth to the villain the sudden tacked on exposition of his motivations is so laughable and derivative that the ensuing showdown is plain stupid.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

There is absolutely no logic to Berry’s character finding her way to the Kidnapper nor is there any plausibility that her or Breslin’s character would go from victims wanting to escape to vicious, revenge seeking vigilantes. It makes no sense whatsoever. Much like Halle Berry’s hair. It’s a cop out ending, it’s an immoral ending and no-one actually gets any resolution.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

Director Brad Anderson’s choices to tight hand held close ups of the kidnapped Breslin adds weight to the drama and the film is tightly edited. There’s no time wasted on subplots, which is a good and bad thing, it’s all focussed on the ‘we’ve gotta find the girl’. It’s ably shot with some of the 2nd unit stuff a bit rushed but nothing that detracts from the film.

… But what’s going on with Halle’s hair?

This flick kicked a goal in the U.S. and I’m really stunned it grossed $51m there. I’m just really surprised that the Richard D’Ovidio screenplay couldn’t come up with a more satisfying close. There’s just so much more you could’ve done with this than just resort to the bloodlust ending. And sending a message that says essentially revenge killing is the right thing to do ain’t something a film should be championing.

And I still can’t explain Halle Berry’s hair!

THE CALL is on general release in AUSTRALIA through ROADSHOW FILMS