Halle Berry is Jordan, a 911 operator in Los Angeles who is part of a massive operation called the Hive. She's professional and caring, often dealing with crime as it happens, including one particularly harrowing incident in which a teenager calls to report a prowler in her house. Though she tries her best, Jordan is powerless to prevent the girl being abducted and murdered.
Blaming herself and ready to quit, she instead takes on a training role at the Hive where, six months later, another young girl is kidnapped from the mall by the same man. She is Casey (Abigail Breslin), and Jordan takes over the call while training new recruits, talking Casey through her ordeal as she's trapped in the boot of her kidnapper's car.
This brief spell offers the strongest moments of an otherwise routine thriller, as Jordan tries to get clues to Casey's location, involving smart details followed by what is either very poor police-work or a complete lack of attention on the part of the filmmakers paid to the timeline.
But though this section is skilfully propelled, what comes beyond that is sorely lacking in real thrills. The Call is capable and competently put together, but a lot of it seems to be the same thing played out over and over, with Casey crying for help and Jordan promising she's going to find her.
Berry and Breslin are both perfectly fine, but this is a film that's more about the process than the characters, so there's not much to latch on to other than the fact that we want Casey to be rescued.
Being a kidnap thriller means that suspense is inherent in its ticking clock scenario but there's nothing here to particularly raise the pulse or take it above the standard of a made-for-TV effort.
Director Brad Anderson, most often to be found working on TV, rather overdoes the close-ups to generate suspense, and a third act lurch into Silence of the Lambs territory takes it from unremarkable to downright potty.
Running Time: 94 mins)
Director: Brad Anderson