I guess Public Enemy wasn’t correct when they said, “911 Is a Joke“.
Halle Berry is a very skilled 911 dispatcher who is good at her job, can ease any caller down, and seems to have her life on-track with her cop-boyf (Morris Chestnut). However, a call that lands the victim to be murdered, puts Halle on the side-lines as she feels as if she is not only a failure, but a person who was not able to do her job the right way. Several months later, she picks up a call from a young girl (Abigal Breslin) who has been kidnapped and trapped in a weirdo’s trunk. Halle feels as if this is her time to shine once again, and helps this young gal out in anyway she can.
Here’s a film that just never seemed to have interested me, but yet, I found myself viewing in the early days of Easter, just because I got out of The Host and felt myself less-than satisfied with what I saw. Therefore, what better way to spend the next 2 hours of my life then checking out Halle Berry, in a great ‘fro by the way, as she talks to some teenage girl about how to not get killed by this random psycho? None, I’ll tell ya! None!
Brad Anderson is a more than capable director when it comes to these types of thrillers, but this is probably his first step into the big boy, mainstream-land, and he seems to feel right at home going along with it. The premise is corny, the script is bad, and the character-development is little to nowhere to be found, but that isn’t what Anderson’s movie is all about. The guy pays more attention to the tension and the plot, rather than knocking us down with a bunch of crap we don’t care about. All we do care about is whether or not Halle Berry is going to be able to get this girl out alive, and whether or not they are ever going to be able to catch this psycho. The questions are raised very early on, and you never lose wonder as to what’s going to happen next.
That’s why this movie really surprised the hell out of me. It’s fun, quick, exciting, and the type of movie you want to see for a good time, maybe even a couple of chills that will really have you putting on some extra-pairs of clothing. There were only about 5 or 6 other peeps in the theater with me, but each and every person was either screaming, yelling, or absolutely curled-up in their seats as they watched to see what happened next. If that doesn’t show you what a successful thriller like this is supposed to do, then I have no clue just what the hell will. For me, I squirmed a couple of times and I sure as hell was very tense throughout, but the crowd loved the hell out of this, and I can’t fully blame them. That’s exactly what this type of movie is made for, and I think Anderson knows that, therefore, he has more fun with it all. Good for him.
The biggest problem I had with this movie was that as fine as it was doing just being an old-school, classic-like thriller that’s plain and ordinary, it still feels the need to change everything up and get stupid. Instead, of sticking with the whole dispatcher gimmick that made the movie work so damn well, it changes to where Halle Berry all of a sudden needs to leave her job, not perform so well anymore, and go out into the field because as we all know, the police aren’t capable of doing their jobs, especially when they’re in a Hollywood movie. Without going into spoiler-territory, the movie gets very dumb and becomes almost like a horror flick where the killer does some weird stuff and is supremely invincible whenever it seems as if he’s going to die next.
To put on top of that, the ending also gets rid of it’s “justice is what’s right” motto that seems be pretty put-upon the whole movie. Once again, not gonna get into spoiler-territory here, just know that the final-act is what brings this movie down a big-load. Sort of like me after I eat beans, 2 fiber bars, and some nice prune juice on the side. Okay, that was a bit dirty but you’re picking up what I’m throwing down. Without this final-act, the movie would have been a lot better rather than leaving me with a sour taste in my mouth. Thankfully, I washed it all down with ham, corn, and mashed potatoes. Nothing like a fancy, Easter dinner.
Even though this is material that may have some of you scratching your heads as to why the hell even Halle Berry decided to sign up for it, don’t be so surprised. In the past couple of years, Berry has starred and signed up in some real stinkers, but this is the movie that gets to show you that she’s still good, she can still act, and yes, she’s still charming. Let’s all just forget about Catwoman and move on now, shall we? Berry is mostly good in this role because she’s a very sympathetic character that you already know is a good person, but who just has such a hard job, it’s hard for her to stay close to her morals. When shit gets crazy for her, she does do the usual panic-episode that any sane person would do when they are thrown into a situation such as this, but at least she’s able to gain composure right back, and move on. For this, she’s a good character to root for and even better; Berry seems to really be on her A-game, despite a lackluster script. Still, a lot better than what we’ve seen from her lately (minus Cloud Atlas).
Abigail Breslin is the actress that will probably be known as Little Miss Sunshine forever and ever, but she shows that she can at least handle material that would be terrible in anybody else’s hands, but is slapped in her’s and done quite well. Throughout the movie, Breslin is practically in the pit of a trunk the whole time, however, she makes it work because she never seems like she’s over-doing the panic and the yelling, she’s just genuinely scared and you root for her as time goes on. Her and Berry actually create a good chemistry together, despite never actually being on-screen together. Shows you why they are more talented than some of their recent film choices may have you think otherwise. Can’t wait to see what Breslin pulls off next and can hopefully make me re-think dancing to Rick James. Maybe, but then again, maybe not.
Consensus: It’s obvious, a tad predictable, and really stupid towards the end, but The Call is surprisingly fun, tense, and exciting due to a solid director from Anderson, and good performances from the leads, Berry and Breslin.
5.5 / 10 = Rental!!