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Laramie Movie Scope: The Call

Police drama good until the last act

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 20, 2013 -- Halle Berry stars in this police drama that is effective until it starts getting progressively unbelievable in the last act. I'm not saying the final scenes don't provide some psychological satisfaction, but those scenes had me thinking to myself “aw, come on now!”

The first part of the film is effective because it is believable. A 911 operator, Jordan Turner (Berry of “X-Men: The Last Stand”) is devastated when she inadvertently causes the death of a house invasion victim. The 911 call from Leah Templeton (Evie Thompson) is accidentally cut off and Jordan calls Templeton back. The ringing phone alerts the killer to the victim's location. Templeton is tortured by a serial killer and murdered. Turner is unable to continue as a 911 operator and becomes an instructor at the massive call center known as “The Hive.”

Later, Jordan reluctantly takes over a difficult 911 call from an inexperienced operator. The call is from a kidnap victim, Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin of “Zombieland”). Of course it turns out that she has been kidnapped and targeted for death by the very same serial killer who killed Templeton. Unfortunately, the coincidences don't end there. As the film continues towards the inevitable conclusion the serial killer starts acting more and more like Jame Gumb, the serial killer in “Silence of the Lambs.” He is creepy as all get-out. There are brutal murders and scenes of graphic violence and torture in this film.

Besides Berry and Breslin's solid turns, there are capable supporting performances, including Morris Chestnut (“Identity Thief”) as Jordan's boyfriend, who is also an investigating officer in the kidnapping. Also good are Roma Maffia as Jordan's supervisor, Maddy and Michael Eklund as the killer. The film is well-made from technical and police procedural standpoints. The details about police investigations and call center procedures seems sound enough until we get to the final act and believability goes out the window.

If the last act of the film had been as good as the first act, this would be a good film, but it sure takes a wrong turn at the end. It almost looks as though the ending to this film is not the original ending. It looks like somebody did not like the looks of the original ending and ordered a sort of emotionally-satisfying, but ill-conceived, wish-fulfillment ending. One of the problems with the ending is that the characters don't stay in character. Two of the main characters personalities are altered in service to the plot, when the plot should have been in service to the characters. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)