Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chesnut, Ella Rae Peck, Michael Eklund (Rated MA – 94 min).
If you suffer from claustrophobia, let me issue an important cinema health warning: do not see this movie! Halle Berry plays Jordan, once a first choice 911 emergency operator who has since been demoted after bungling a rescue some six months earlier. During a routine shift, she takes a call from Casey, a teenager claiming to be abducted and locked inside the boot of a car travelling along an unknown highway. The mobile phone Casey is using cannot be traced and fast running out of battery power. Determined not to hang up, calmly conveying instructions on how to give clues to her actual location (listen to sounds, kick out the taillight), Jordan eventually steps above her obligations by attempting to confront the kidnapper on her own time.
By now the exaggerated plot goes into maximum over-drive becoming unintentionally hilarious. Various lingering close ups of the actors in peril are a master-class on how to look stressed. Luckily, the suspense has flair, it builds fast delivering shocks that become as tormenting for the viewer as it does the young victim. The chills of being kidnapped is not kind to the senses. Director Brad Anderson holds nothing back in order to keep the audience on edge.
Beware as some of the camera angles may be confronting for the squeamish, demonstrating the desperation of human frailty during the situation is cruel in no uncertain terms. Sporting a mound of big curly hair, Halle Berry is the unsung hero of the film keeping things moving with scintillating screen presence. Even if the movie was a debacle, as Catwoman, she still oozed that X Factor. The former ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ is all grown up, Abigail Breslin shows extraordinary range as Casey, giving her lengthy moments where she seems truly terrified.
Without revealing the outcome, things go in a different way than you might expect towards the end that Hitchcock would probably approve. ‘The Call’ is no classic, the mystery of what’s going to happen next keeps your mind alert. Exactly what is needed in a taut thriller like this.
© Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.