There are a plethora of films on both the small screen and big screen that feature the tough role our emergency responders have, but until the new film "The Call," I cannot think of one that focused completely on the role of the all important 911 operator.
In "The Call," Jordan (Halle Berry) is seasoned 911 operation working in the heart of Los Angeles. It is Jordan and all of her colleagues that are the team of people called upon to help when the citizens of Los Angeles are at their very worst. Jordan knows that in most cases she will never know the result of the situations she is called to help with - Will the girl live? Will the man kill himself? Will the guy put down the gun? Once help arrives, Jordan signs off and starts accepting new calls.
Putting Jordan to the test is a call from a young girl frightened by a man breaking into her home. Help will take longer than usual to get to the home and it is Jordan's job to talk the young girl into doing the best job possible to stay alive. But, one bad choice on Jordan's part, puts the girl in more danger and it's a decision that haunts Jordan, especially when the young girl is found dead.
Jordan retires from taking any more calls and starts to work training other 911 operators. On one of her training days, a probationary employee receives a freighting call: A girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), has been kidnapped and is calling from the trunk of the man's car. The probationary employee melts under the pressure and Jordan steps in to handle the call. Jordan will have to put away her own feeling of inadequacies and put all of her training to work to save Casey.
The result is an exciting thriller that will have you at the edge of your seat for most of the film. This a thriller that will have you routing for Jordan and Casey and hoping the bad guy gets caught. The twists and turns of the plot are unique and not at all predictable and add to tension of the film.
"The Call" came from a story by Jon Bokercamp, Richard D'Ovidio and Nicole D'Ovidio and the resulting screenplay penned by Richard D'Ovidio is a tight, thoughtful script that is the foundation for this fantastic thriller. Directing "The Call," is Brad Anderson, he helps to dial up the suspense with his artful direction.
Halle Berry is terrific playing Jordan. It is a great part for her - not in the least a part that will win her awards, but still a great role to add to her resume. Abigail Breslin is also terrific as the terrified Casey. If you can't quite place Abigail, she is the grown-up actress from the comedic hit "Little Miss Sunshine."
Not only is "The Call" a first-rate thriller, it spells out the how a person can be kidnapped and some useful things to keep in mind if you are ever in this predicament. The only part of the film that doesn't play out as truthful as most of the film is the very ending. However, this theatrical, Hollywood ending is well-done.
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Whatever your movie choice this week, please remember your movie theater etiquette: silence your cell phones and no texting, please don't talk during the film and remove your children if they become a distraction to other audience members. Don't forget that laughing, crying and cheering are always approved behavior and even encouraged.
-Kay Shackleton is a film historian with special focus on Silent Films, see her work at SilentHollywood.com