Call turns spot­light on to the 911 op­er­a­tors

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

The Call,

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.

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