So, I finally got the chance to see Halle Berry’s new thriller ‘The Call’ and write a review about it. I have always been a fan of Halle and yes, I know that she has more than enough flops in her resume, but she also has some movies that are quite good. Let’s start with the review and see how it might affect her career in the future.
The plot of the film is very easy to understand. Berry plays a 911 operator by the name Jordon Turner who makes a mistake, leading to the death of a teenage girl and after some time she finds herself trying to save another girl from the same killer. Yes, I know that it feels as if we have seen it before. However, the way the film has been directed is what caused it to perform well at the box office and you will surely enjoy the ride.
The film starts with some actual 911 calls some of them are your average stuff. Some are funny while the rest are downright creepy. I always wondered what went down at the call centre and how everything works. We are introduced to Jordan and we know that she is a pro. It’s her job and she enjoys it. She’s quite efficient and it’s fun to see how all of these people receive calls and then direct the proper resources towards the problem.
One of the good things about The Call is that it introduces all of the characters, that we can expect, quite early and then doesn’t waste time on them. We meet Jordon’s friends, her boss and even her boyfriend Officer Paul Phillips, who is played by Morris Chestnut. We also get to meet David Otunga in his debut as Officer Jake Devans. We see Jordan taking a break and going outside to get some lip action from Paul and yes Halle Berry still looks way too sexy for her age.
She heads back and that’s when the film actually starts. She receives a phone call and it’s from a teenage girl named Leah Templeton who is trying to escape a man who has broken into her house. Jordon does everything she has been taught but the line gets disconnected. Not knowing what to do next she redials the number and the ringing phone gives away where Leah is hiding. The killer, played brilliantly by Michael Eklund listens to Jordan telling him not to do anything she might regret and he answers with a line that we will be hearing a lot of: “It’s already done”.
Jordon goes crazy and her boss calms her down. She knows that they aren’t supposed to get emotionally attached to the callers and after a few minutes of hesitation we see her back in the game. Everything goes well until the death of the same teenage girl hits the news and Jordon has a breakdown.
Then we get to see the ‘Six Months Later’ line, which we all know a lot of writers like to use in films. We see Jordon teaching a new badge of call operators and explain what they do here. We get to know how important their work is and why the workplace is called ‘The Hive’, which was the films name before it was changed. I’m glad they changed it. It made me feel that the movie was about bugs or something.
We also get to see Abigail Breslin playing the role of Casey Welson. This film is the one where little miss sunshine breaks out of her child image and I think she did it quite well. Casey is hanging out in the mall with her friend and we see Michael watching her. Casey goes to the parking lot alone and yes people, she gets kidnapped. Always remember not to go into the parking lot alone, like EVER!
We see a rookie operator handling the lines while Jordon is showing people around the premises and she picks up Casey’s call. She’s stuck in the trunk of the car and she needs help. It’s a disposable phone and that’s why they can’t get a GPS location on her. Jordon takes control of the situation and what follows are fast-paced sequences going back and forth from the hive and Casey being stuck in a trunk.
This is where the director, Brad Anderson, really shines. The scenes where Casey is stuck in the trunk are directed brilliantly and you can feel the tension. The screenplay by Richard D’Ovidio might not be Oscar bait, but it sure knows how to thrill the audience. It’s fun to see Jordon trying to help Casey and there’s a lot of stuff that she does in order to break free. The few people who actually try to help the little girl meet fatal ends, one is stabbed to death by a screwdriver and the other is burnt alive. You won’t feel deprived of thrills and shocks in this film.
While Jordon is helping Casey, we see Paul and Jake trying to find who the killer is. We get to know that his name is Michael Foster and he has got some serious issues he needs to work out. His past might not be one of the best when it comes to killer but it still gives the audience a sense regarding why he’s doing such things. The police officers try what they can but they fail to find the teenage girl. Jordon doesn’t want to admit defeat because she knows that it’s the same killer who took Leah’s life six months ago and made her opt to teach newbie’s. Michael repeated the line “It’s already done” when he knew about Casey and her phone. Jordon’s colleagues tell her to chill but she can’t. She’s determined and she’s not taking no for an answer.
While all of this is going on, we see that Michael has taken Casey into a cellar that the police couldn’t find and he’s going to kill her. Jordon goes over the recording of her conversation and she does something similar to Sherlock and goes out to find Casey on her own depending on the background noises during the phone call. Long story short, she stumbles upon the hidden cellar and goes in without calling the police. I had a problem with this. Why didn’t she tell her cop boyfriend what she was going to do? Anyway, it’s a thriller. So, she goes in and a fight ensues. Jordon and Casey manage to knockout Michael and tie him to a chair with duct tape and chains.
This is where the ‘what the hell just happened?’ moment comes in. Jordon and Casey just leave Michael tied to the chair and close the door. Jordon says the line “It’s already done” and the movie ends.
I enjoyed the beginning of the film and I even liked the moments near the end. You can excuse characters making dumb choices in thrillers. If they don’t go down a dark cellar alone, it won’t be a thriller you know. What I couldn’t get was the ending. Weren’t these two supposed to be good people? Why would they leave Michael and hope that he starves to death?
The weird part was that Casey was the one who comes up with the idea. Is she going to become a serial killer when she grows up? I like characters to have an evil streak but I wasn’t expecting anything this evil. Maybe the writer was thinking of making Jordon and Casey into vigilantes and come up with a sequel. Whatever the reasoning maybe, the end was weird.
The Call was made to thrill and shock the audience and I guess that’s what it did. The acting is good. Halle Berry is a good actress and she just needs a good role. Abigail didn’t disappoint. However, the surprise came from the performance of Michael Eklund who actually made people feel chills with his portrayal of Mr. Foster. All in all, The Call is a good film and definitely a date film, if you want to hold on to your boyfriend, etc. I think it will do even better when the DVD comes out.
Halle needed a good movie in her resume and The Call was it. The only other project she has is X-Men First Class: Days of Future Past. A lot of people are thinking of this film as her comeback which I think isn’t true. Berry needs to have another two or three good movies in order to make a proper comeback. A good thing about her is that she goes for roles that show powerful colored women, even if the films suck. She likes to be the lead and that’s what she tries to find in the scripts she gets. She’s not the kind of actress who will settle down for a supporting role that’s hidden in the illusion of a leading lady even if it means that film will do well at the box office.
The Call is definitely a step in the right direction for all of the actors. I wasn’t expecting something like this from WWE Studies. But they have done a good job working with Troika Pictures to give something good to the audience.
In the end, the films, Halle does after the First Class sequel will determine if her career has gotten better or not. The Call was directed towards African American audiences in the two months it got for promotion and Halle Berry needs to know that though she has mainstream appeal, she needs to be in the good books of the biggest audience she has in order to succeed.