CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Crime, Thriller
  • 2013
  • 94 mins

The Call

Film4 The Call

Synopsis

A Los Angeles emergency services operator (Halle Berry) takes a call from a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) locked in the trunk of a kidnapper’s car, and must talk her through her own rescue.

About

“Don’t make promises,” veteran Los Angeles emergency operator and instructor Jordan Turner (Halle Berry) dispassionately informs her class of newbies. It’s far too easy, as anyone can see, to get personally involved when scared people call you for help in their most desperate hour. But after one 911 (aka, 999) call goes bad for Turner, she gets personally involved with another - though it would have been difficult to disconnect, emotionally or telephonically, with this one anyway, since the caller is a kidnapped teenage girl who is phoning from the trunk of her abductor’s car.

Cinema is rife with serial killer films, but the standout joy of this one is how it smashes to smithereens the tired trope of woman-as-victim. While similar movies often take pleasure, and hope we will too, in the easily terrorized weaknesses of a “clever” madman’s targets, here we have feisty Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Kit Kittredge: An American Girl) refusing to give in to her fate or give up trying to escape. Her Casey Welson is, despite the made-for-melodrama circumstances, one of the most realistic teen girls popular film has offered us in recent memory.

And Berry’s (Cloud Atlas, X-Men) Turner is a model of consummate professionalism: cool, calm, and capable as she talks Casey through trying to determine where the moving car is, where it might be heading, and how to draw attention to herself in a way that might bring nearby help. These are smart, resourceful women who don’t need rescuing: they’ll rescue themselves, thank you very much.

It does all get rather preposterously silly in the end, but director Brad Anderson, taking a studio step up from his previous indie work, never loses the goodwill he gained early on by bringing the same fresh perspective to genre storytelling he utilized in his unsettling films The Machinist and Session 9. This is tense, effective popcorn pulp that doesn’t make you feel that you’ve seen this same story a hundred times before.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin
  • Director: Brad Anderson
  • Composer: John Debney

In a nutshell

The familiar serial-killer flick gets a welcome shakeup, upending the woman-as-victim cliché and offering a bracing new perspective on an oft-told tale.

by MaryAnn Johanson

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Quiet Ones

    The Quiet Ones

    British scientist and university lecturer Dr Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) leads a dangerous experiment to discover the origin of poltergeist phenomena

  • Film4 Half of a Yellow Sun

    Half Of A Yellow Sun

    Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton star in a Nigerian historical drama based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies prize-winning novel

  • Film4 Goon

    Goon on Film4

    Seann William Scott stars as an ice hockey enforcer alongside Alison Pill, Jay Baruchel and Liev Schreiber in a full-blooded sports comedy

  • Film4 The Inbetweeners Movie

    Rogues Gallery Season on Film4

    A season dedicated to memorable anti-heroes, mischief makers and black comedies with bad attitudes

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four films announced for Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House 2014

    Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House celebrates its 10th anniversary this August with 14 nights of open-air screenings Celebrating ten years of classic, cult, and contemporary films in its open-ai

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Frank: a Twitter prequel

    Commissioning Executive Anna Higgs on creating a prequel to Lenny Abrahamson┬┐s Frank via the most natural storytelling medium possible for the character involved: Twitter The @JonBurroughs83 Twitter

Rent now on Film4od

Available to rent for £3.99

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @TVfilmoftheday: Drowning By Numbers (Peter Greenaway, 1988) on Film4 at 1.30am @Film4 http://t.co/1WyNod7IE4

  • "Trust me, it's paradise." Up next at 11.40pm, Leonardo DiCaprio stars in Danny Boyle's backpacking thriller The Beach.

  • World cinema fans! Our late-night highlight at 2am is Xavier Dolan's French-Canadian love triangle drama Heartbeats: http://t.co/JXDkRYVQex

  • If you missed our premiere of fairy tale adventure Mirror Mirror earlier, switch over to Film4+1. It's about to start shortly at 5.45pm.

  • "Snow White lived, she died, God rest her soul, Amen. There will be a buffet lunch served at two." Up next at 4.45pm, it's Mirror Mirror.

Share