Movie Review: "The Call" (with spoilers)
The primary problem with "The Call" is that the people writing the script did not know what kind of movie they wanted to make. Did they want to make an innovative thriller with the protagonist redeeming herself from a tragic mistake, or did they want to make a stock action movie? They tried to do both, and the film suffered for it.
We start off with 911 operator Jordan (Halle Berry) taking a call from a teenage girl reporting a home invasion. When the call is disconnected, Jordan calls her back, alerting the criminal, who is a serial killer. The killer finds her and the girl later turns up murdered - leading to a major personal crisis for Jordan.
This sets up the rest of the movie very well. Later, another teenage girl is kidnapped and Jordan takes over for an inexperienced operator. We watch as Jordan advises the girl on how to get attention and help the police find her. The hunt is on, and when the perpetrator is identified things really start to heat up.
Had the movie continued this tone, it would have been fine. Through her quick thinking and problem-solving, Jordan helps the girl stay alive and the police find her. Jordan redeems herself and the girl (Casey) is rescued safely by the police. The killer is either arrested or killed.
The problem is that is not how the movie ended. Instead, it went off the rails when Jordan goes off on her own to rescue Casey. She finds a trap door and enters the killer's den of horrors. They escape, subdue the killer and prepare to call 911... before deciding to murder him instead.
Suspension of disbelief is not too difficult before the absurd ending scene. But the writers expect us to believe an untrained 911 operator is able to easily find a trap door a trained SWAT team missed, and that she decided to rescue the girl herself and attack the killer without calling for police backup. It is as if the ending for a completely different movie was pasted onto the end of this one. They swapped out a 911 operator for a female version of Paul Kersey.
By engaging in vigilante justice, Jordan and Casey deny the other victims' families' closure by seeing the murderer brought to justice. Jordan and Casey waste a great deal of taxpayer money as the police search for someone who they will never find. Jordan and Casey deny the killer's wife and son the right to know what happened to him, and his innocent family did not know anything about his double life.
Having Jordan act as a lone wolf "hero" is absurd, and the ending is a dramatic shift in the tone of the movie. Had the ending been more logical and more in line with the real world, this would have been a much better movie.
Final Grade: D+