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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Call | Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
http://www.lasvegasroundtheclock.com
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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The Call | Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund | Review

You’ll know what to do if you’re ever locked in the trunk of a car, either accidently or more ominously, on purpose, after watching this suspenseful odyssey of a kidnap victim and a 911 call center employee’s efforts to save her.

Haunted by the guilt of (possibly) mishandling a previous 911 call that ultimately led to a young girl’s death, dispatcher/trainer Jordan (Halle Berry) becomes obsessed with a similar call for assistance.  Blonde teen Casey (Abigail Breslin) is snatched from a Los Angeles shopping mall’s parking garage and stuffed into the trunk of the kidnapper’s (Michael Eklund) car.  Fortunately, she has a pay-as-you-go cell phone in her pocket.  Unfortunately, those types of cells have no GPS capability for tracking purposes.*

Despite this daunting setback, Jordan extracts information about the perp by resourceful methods, calming the hysterical Casey and employing clever maneuvers in order to pinpoint her whereabouts and discover the identity of her assailant.

A police presence is provided by Jordan’s significant other, Officer Phillips (Morris Chestnut) and his partner Officer Devans (David Otunga), and their concurrent investigation fueled by Jordan’s fact-finding, uncover the perp’s creepy backstory and
possible location.

Giving away any more of the plot of the 95 minute, almost heart-attack-inducing action would rob the viewer of discovering the cool-headed instructions and logic dispensed by 911 operators every minute of every day somewhere in the U.S.

By film’s end the viewer may feel as if they’ve undergone Casey’s experience right along with her, in all of its helpless, gripping terror.  The last thirty minutes however, lapse into an implausible scenario which will satisfy some and disappoint others.  

Halle Berry turns in a solid, believable performance as Jordan, the capable dispatcher whose stressful job takes a toll on her judgment and conscience.  Abigail Breslin is compelling as Casey, thrust into a nightmare world of confinement, her continued existence resting on a cell phone battery and a stranger’s voice on the end of the line.

Michael Eklund is eerily effective as a calm, ordinary psychopath with a penchant for 80’s pop songs, embodying the normal exterior of a monster hidden in plain sight while waiting to pounce on carefully selected prey.

Director Brad Anderson (Transsiberian, The Machinist) crafts a thriller that almost never employs the brakes on the fugitive car as the engine roars and terrifies with deadly possibilities for its confined prey.  

Anderson conveys the desperation of a search that must cover miles in any direction, juxtaposed with the desperation of the victim locked in a tiny space.  From large area to small, scenes are taut and full of close calls and near misses, plus a few acts of violent horror perpetrated by an average guy, which may be the most unnerving discovery of all.

The Call will keep you on the line (and on the edge of your seat) until the very end.  After that, you just may need to recharge your own battery.

*Please note:  All TracFone phones – including the one shown in “The Call” -- are “E911 complaint,” as required by the FCC, which means they are traceable by police, fire and other emergency responders.

 

 

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