The Call [2013] ★★½

The-Call-posterIf you’re willing to pay money to see a movie in which Halle Berry plays a 911 operator who spends most of the time talking on the phone, then you know exactly what you’re in for. There’s no use complaining. What makes the movie a fun ride (and believe me it is entertaining) is the casting of Berry. It is her initial terror that hooks us in when she receives a phone call from a teenage girl whose house is being broken into. The girl is eventually kidnapped and murdered, and Berry feels she’s to blame. Six months later, she gets the chance to redeem herself when another girl (Abigail Breslin) is abducted but still manages to make a phone call from the car trunk she’s been placed in (Umm “Cellular” anyone?).  I’m not spoiling any surprises here because quite frankly, there  are no surprises. But still, Director Brad Anderson (“The Machinist”), with the help of his screenwriter Richard D’Ovidio, makes a tight, tense job of it. The result is a “popcorn movie” in every sense of the term, but in a good way. Sure it isn’t a truly phenomenal cinematic breakthrough, nor is it a kind of cherished masterpiece. It is what it is. You could do a lot worse with your eight bucks over the weekend. So I say, give it a shot. It can’t hurt. It’s certainly one of the guilty pleasures of the year.

Rating: 2.5/4

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