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The Call (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 94 minutes.

not for children.

Director Brad Anderson keeps raising the tension in this film about a 911 operator (Halle Berry) who gets a call from a kidnapped teenager (Abigail Breslin) imprisoned in the trunk of a the car of sex fiend Michael Eklund. As usual in a thriller, the music is essential to the dramatic impact of the movie and John Debney has succeeded admirably with a score that enhances the tension. The cinematography (Tom Yatsko) is also key to this film because basically it takes place in a room of 911 operators and the trunk of the car. But as Anderson cuts back and forth, Yatsko alternates scenes of Breslin trapped in the trunk with aerial shots of the car going to its destination with Eklund calmly driving along unaware that Breslin is frantically trying to help Berry determine where she is.

Breslinís performance is truly exceptional as she spends much of the film lying on her back in the trunk, able to express her emotions only through her voice and facial expressions. Itís a remarkable job of acting for one so young (16). Berryís performance is equally effective as she communicates the stress these operators must endure, especially if they are caring and sensitive.

This gives an insight into what 911 operators have to go through and is informative about what their office locations look like and the equipment they use and how it works. Berry did a lot of research into this before starting the role. I found that learning the workings of this system that is such a big part of our society at least as interesting as the plot of the movie.

This is a fine, tension-packed, rewarding film.