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The Call
★★★☆☆
First run Screening room

The Call attempts to find something fresh in the woman-in-jeopardy formula by having both the victim and the hero be women. It also finds a new and exciting setting for a thriller--a 911 call center. When a teenage girl, played by Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine), is abducted from a suburban mall, a senior 991 operator, played by Halle Berry, gets a chance to redeem herself for a fatal mistake she made on a previous call. The film is just as contrived as it sounds, but what differentiates a good thriller from a bad one is never how realistic the film is, but whether or not it draws us in so totally that we ignore any absurdities in the plot. Director Brad Anderson (Session 9) and writer Richard D'Ovidio do a decent job for the first two thirds of the picture but choose the most obvious and flawed route for their third act. This lengthy climax destroys any credibility the film earned while it was focused on the intense back and forth phone dialog between Berry’s operator at the 911 “hive” and the kidnapped Breslin locked in the trunk of a serial killer’s car. Once the film tries to bring its two main characters together, you become instantly aware of the difference between a great thriller like The Silence of The Lambs and a disposable popcorn movie like The Call.

Directed by Brad Anderson
Produced by Bradley Gallo, Jeffrey Graup, Michael A. Helfant, Michael Luisi, and Robert Stein

Screenplay by Richard D'Ovidio
Story by Richard D'Ovidio, Nicole D'Ovidio, and Jon Bokenkamp

With: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga, Justina Machado, José Zúñiga, Roma Maffia, Evie Thompson, Denise Dowse, and Michael Imperioli

Cinematography: Tom Yatsko
Editing: Avi Youabian
Music: John Debney

Runtime: 94 min
Release Date: 15 March 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color