Film review: The Call is wildly off message

 

Halle Berry stars as a 911 emergency-call operator in a thriller that handles some sharp bends before it crashes and burns.

She takes a call one night from a terrified teenage girl, hiding in her home from an intruder; and it's the operator's mistake that leads to tragedy. Six months later, and another girl (Abigail Breslin) is kidnapped by the same man.

Can our stressed-out heroine be a rock of calm at the other end of the line and turn the experience into an improving lesson in personal growth?

For a while it's quite tense, thanks to some tightly directed action – a lot of the movie seems to happen in the trunk of a car.

But once Berry transforms herself from 911 operator to detective-crime-fighter (a first in the history of call centres, surely?), The Call goes wildly off message and deep into absurdity.

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