2013 has been a good year for cinema overall, but one of the biggest surprises so far has been the success of The Call. Made for a modest $US13 million dollars the film grossed an impressive $US51 million in America alone - and probably that amount again around the rest of the world. It was a film that I had kept a keen eye on, but never managed to see it at cinemas in Australia, so when Village Roadshow sent the Blu-Ray over it was into the Blu-Ray player pretty promptly.
The Call follows the events surrounding veteran 911 operator Jordan Turner (played by Halle Berry), who is traumatized following a phone call where a young girl dies, possibly from her actions. Six months later, and Jordan is now a teacher at the call center, but when a young girl, Casey (Abigail Breslin), is kidnapped Jordan must use all her skills to save her life.
With a rather brisk 94 minute runtime, The Call is a gripping film from start to finish in what is essentially a film of two viewpoints - that of the 911 operator, and that of the hostage. The director, Brad Anderson, builds a solid rapport between the two characters without getting bogged down in their back story which isn't needed for the characters to evolve, nor for us to follow their journey.
Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland) too is very impressive as the kidnap victim and it has really helped cement her role as a solid actress - we really can't wait to see her in the zombie film Maggie with Arnold Schwarzenegger sometime in the future (it's being filmed right now).
Finally, while he doesn't have a lot of dialogue in the film Michael Eklund (Watchmen) is superb as the kidnapper Michael Foster. He has a menace about him, and certainly portrays the kind of person you would expect to commit such hideous crimes.
The real disappointment comes with the minutes of the film which becomes a little predictable, a little unbelievable, and a little questionable as to some actions being taken, or lack thereof. Still, with such fine performances from Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin and Michael Eklund The Call is worth checking out.
The Call is another great looking film on Blu-Ray from Village Roadshow and has been transferred using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and while the cover for this film states it is presented in 1.78:1 the Blu-Ray actually plays in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. From start to finish this is a very polished film on Blu-Ray which runs the gamut of scene types from bright and colourful moments in the mall, to darker scenes in the car boot following the abduction, and bright outdoor environments during the manhunt. Also impressive is the fine detail that is evident throughout the film, in particular the close-up shots of Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin which shows stunning levels of detail.
We didn't notice any glaring issues with the transfer bar the very occasional light colour banding that will take a very keen eye to spot.
Emergency Procedures: Making of The Call (14:53/HD): It's a little too EPK-ish however there are some good details provided about the creation of this film and it's worth checking out.
On The Set: The Lair (3:27/HD): This short featurette looks at one of the final set pieces of the film - needless to say it contains massive spoilers so don't watch it before the film.
On The Set: The Call Center (4:52/HD): This featurette looks at creating the call center, and getting assistance from the real call center and callers in Los Angeles.
Rehearsal Footage: Michael Eklund (7:48/HD): Some test footage, that funnily enough is more haunting and scary then that in the final film!
Deleted & Extended Scenes (5:01/HD): Five deleted and extended scenes are presented here but there's not much to get excited about.
Review By: Dave Warner