Call turns spotlight on to the 911 operators
IN countless films about emergencies, crimes and police work, the 911 dispatcher is but a bit player, an anonymous, robotic voice briefly heard on the other end of a breathless call made by our movie’s main players.
But in The Call, the 911 operator gets a starring role. It would seem to be long overdue, since Halle Berry is apparently among their ranks.
She’s a highly professional emergency operator in Los Angeles, where the trauma of a first kidnapping case has forced her to hang up the headset. But, having shifted to a trainer position, she’s lured back for a second kidnapping call when a rookie dispatcher can’t handle the frightened pleas from a teenager trapped in a car’s boot (Abigail Breslin).
Director Brad Anderson, working from the simple, high-concept screenplay by Richard D’Ovidio, ably cuts between Berry’s increasingly emotionally attached Jordan Turner and Breslin’s panicking Casey Welson, contrasting the fraught strategising of Turner with the frantic police pursuit of the kidnapper (Michael Eklund).
Turner’s cop boyfriend (Morris Chestnut) is among those in the hunt.
The Call dials up a shallow thrill ride, but one efficiently peppered with your typical ‘‘don’t go in there!’’ moments. But what once was usual for Hollywood – reliable, popcorn-eating genre frights – isn’t so much anymore. The Call is a rudimentary, almost old-fashioned 90-minute escape that manages to achieve its low ambitions.
To distract and calm Welson, Turner at one point asks her her favourite movie, to which she replies Bridesmaids.
The bit has a two-pronged effect. One, we can’t
Halle Berry in a scene from
directed by Brad Anderson.