Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The audience is fully aware of where this is going, and the ubiquitous trailer that seemingly played in cinemas for years at this point pretty much spilled the beans on the set-up. However, there's the slightest bit of pleasure in the opening sections of The Call because Berry displays such poise, ease and even authority in a role that required little less than ones attendance. And there's a scant bit of taut showmanship in the early sections of the film. Directed by Brad Anderson, a filmmaker who made his mark with the romantic indie Next Stop Wonderland (2001) and gravitated more towards the thriller genre with films like The Machinst (2004) and the underrated Transsiberian (2008.) The Call marks his first stab at mainstream attention, or a paycheck. The problem, either attributed to fatigue to a script that knew not what to do with its silly premise is that the film drifts into such a lazy and predictable mystery, discrediting nearly anything that was slightly engaging or thoughtful in the first act. Berry and Breslin, as well as the immensely gifted and underused Roma Maffia (who plays Jordan's boss) cobble enough synthetic sympathy in their broad characterizations that the lack of character development is nearly excusable, but the crude and sloppy villain of the piece is a third rate caricature, and a laughable one at that.
At first just a benignly creepy bad guy who over the course turns into a Buffalo Bill clone. If you're going to riff on Ed Gein mythology, something of which great films like Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre all have, you kind of deserve a lashing. C