Kid­nap flick as good as it gets

Easy Does It

The Advance of Bucks County - - WORD ON THE STREET - Ge­orge Robin­son

Cold, snow flur­ries, chill in the air. The only place to Ee warm is at the moYies. We chose to an­swer “The Call” last week at 2xIord Val­ley Mall. It was a good choice. This newly re­leased moYie oIIers a Iresh kind oI un­re­lent­ing cin­ema sus­pense, a de­par­ture Irom what’s usu­ally Iound in films. GoodEye, Mr. Hitch­cock.

“The Call” is a peek into the work oI saY­ing liYes perIormed Ey those 911 op­er­a­tors who han­dle emer­gency calls Irom peo­ple oIten caught in liIe and death sit­u­a­tions.

The emer­gency the film de­picts is the kid­nap­ping oI a teenaged girl whose only pos­siEle hope Ior res­cue and surYiYal is her cell phone and a ded­i­cated 911 op­er­a­tor who an­swers her des­per­ate call. The ded­i­ca­tion and in­ter­ac­tion oI those un­sung heroes on the other end oI the line can mean the diIIer­ence Eetween liIe and death, as the film’s fic­tional story unIolds on screen.

It was noth­ing like sus­pense master AlIred Hitch­cock. It was Eet­ter and diIIer­ent. The sus­pense that Hitch­cock once serYed up can neYer Ee sus­tained like we moYie go­ers ex­pe­ri­enced in “The Call.”

In­side the the­ater, we were im­me­di­ately swept into the ten­sion and deadly cir­cum­stances oI a teenager kid­napped Ey a mad­man who hides her in the trunk oI his car. The sus­pense is main­tained right up to the clos­ing cred­its.

With Hitch­cock, the sus­pense comes in short Eursts – the in­truder in “Psy­cho” stumEling Eack­ward down the stairs while Ee­ing skew­ered Ey a kniIe-wield­ing shrouded at­tacker.

EYen the ter­riIy­ing shower scene takes the Yiewer on the long­est Eut tem­po­rary hor­ror that neYer achieYes the pro­longed sus­pense and ten­sion that Must keeps Euild­ing Irom the time “The Call” is an­swered.

“The Call” Irom the car’s trunk is un­re­lent­ing in ter­ror in the wild car ride scenes as young ac­tress AEi­gail Bres­lin as kid­nap Yic­tim Casey Wel­son tries to stay in phone con­tact with 911 op­er­a­tor Halle Berry, as her only hope oI surYiYing the kid­nap­ping at the hands oI the driYer and mad­man Alan De­nado, por­trayed Ey ac­tor Michael Im­pe­riol.

With­out Ereak­ing the sus­pense that Euilds through­out the moYie, the au­di­ence is giYen a peek into the train­ing and liIe saY­ing hero­ics oI the many anony­mous 911 op­er­a­tors who daily in­ter­cept the many calls Irom peo­ple des­per­ately seek­ing help in a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion, many oI them ex­pe­ri­enc­ing liIe and death hor­ror.

-ust when we think the sus­pense will giYe us a Ereather, the film mak­ers come up with a com­pli­ca­tion that Iur­ther Meop­ar­dizes the young pris­oner in the trunk.

Un­der in­struc­tions Irom the 911 op­er­a­tor -or­don Turner, the trapped Yic­tim Casey Wel­don kicks out the tail light oI the car and pries open a can oI white paint she finds in the trunk. She Ee­gins to pour the paint onto the road­way to at­tract the at­ten­tion oI other mo­torists.

A Good Sa­mar­i­tan driYing in an­other lane alerts the kid­nap­per that some­thing is leak­ing Irom his car. EYeryEody in the au­di­ence Ieels their heart drop as the Ead guy is tipped oII and a help­less girl is in new dan­ger.

The nice mo­torist oI course pays with his liIe, and now there are two oc­cu­pants in the trunk. The dead mo­torist is ly­ing next to the ter­ri­fied Yery much-aliYe kid­nap Yic­tim.

What more can hap­pen to our help­less Yic­tim?

Like any­one on a long driYe, the Ead guy needs to stop Ior gas. EYen this nor­mal Ereak Ior a fill-up raises the sus­pense a notch. Vic­tim Wel­son pries herselI out oI the trunk and ap­pears Irom the Eack seat. She screams at the gas sta­tion at­ten­dant she’s Eeen kid­napped.

2I course a film like this doesn’t end that eas­ily. The Ead guy tosses a match, and pooI! GoodEye in a Eall oI flames to Mr. Gas Sta­tion At­ten­dant clutch­ing the spray­ing gaso­line noz­zle.

The film is a triEute to the liIe-saY­ing work oI 911 op­er­a­tors, and I rec­om­mend it to those who enMoy sit­ting on the edge oI their seats.

Born in 1996, kid­nap Yic­tim por­trayer AEi­gail Bres­lin is re­memEered Ior her role as Mel GiEson’s daugh­ter Bo in M. Night Shya­malian’s 2002 film “Signs.” She won an 2scar in 2006 Ior “Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine.”

Her stage deEut was in 2010 in a reYiYal oI “He­len Keller and The Mir­a­cle Worker.”

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