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Call Holding - A review of The Call

Updated on March 21, 2013
Halle Berry stars as Jordan, a 911 call operator who must deal with having made a fatal mistake in the movie The Call
Halle Berry stars as Jordan, a 911 call operator who must deal with having made a fatal mistake in the movie The Call
2 stars for The Call

Summary: Halle Berry’s performance is spot on. So is Abigail Breslin’s. Too bad the story line could use a tweak or two.

Serial killing is a touchy business. Especially in today’s age with all that modern technology that makes it harder and harder to get away without getting caught..

Which is why this storyline almost seems contrived and hackneyed. Despite marvelous performances by Halle Berry as a beleaguered 911 dispatcher and Abigail Breslin as the kidnap victim she tries desperately to save, the story itself has more than its fair share of gaping holes.

Berry plays Jordan, a young operator who is haunted by a crucial mistake that costs a young girl her life. Now teaching the next generation of 911 operators, she listens in on a call that sets her on a hunt for a kidnapper who turns out to be the serial killer that abducted and murdered the previous victim which in turn made Jordan consider a career change.

Good thing she didn’t, however, since her training and experience keep her and the impending victim Casey (a stunningly compelling Breslin) working towards a solution that could result in the victim escaping her captor.

The acting is impressive, with each of the stars more than adequately pulling their own weight in the story. The script, however, degenerates into the exploration of a deranged mind and I found it difficult to retain my focus on the story as the narrative became increasingly bizarre.

Michael Eklund is chilling as the psychopath who obviously gets a rush by perpetrating the unusual crime. His character is so mono-focused that he commits murder without a second thought or a hint of remorse.

But the steps that Jordan follows to catch up with him almost make even less sense in the overall scheme of things. And one must wonder why this 911 operator would strike out on her own in an effort to capture the bad guy when she knows fully well that he would show no hesitancy or restraint if he had the opportunity to murder her.

The movie is helmed by TV series episode director Brad Anderson. It shows, too, since this movie looks like an extended episode that could easily have been slotted into virtually any of the myriad crime shows on television. It is a by-the-numbers mystery with a typically predictable Hollywood outcome.

If you can get past a couple of fairly disquieting scenes, the film is entertaining to watch. But the peril isn’t likely to become so real that it borders on the believable. There are far better mysteries than this one for that. I give The Call 2-1/2 out of 5 stars.

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