It was going so well until the bad logic fail at the end…
|Halle Berry as Jordan Hunter|
|Abigaile Breslin as Casey Welson|
|Morris Chestnut as Paul Phillips|
|and Michael Eklund as Michael Foster|
Now, before we start off, I’d like to say that the job of emergency call centre workers must be amazingly tough and difficult. I think they deserve the kind of recognition that many thoroughly undeserving people receive. Like the Kardashian harpies. Or Justine “I have horrible taste” Bieber. In some ways, I can only imagine that the job of an emergency call centre worker is portrayed as accurately as possible in this movie. Apart from all the stupid prank calls, drunkards and tripped up junkies, there must always be the really traumatic calls where the person on the line is facing a life or death situation. I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that puts on people on both sides of the call.
The film starts out well enough, promising a quick paced action inspired kind of thriller. A girl calls through to our heroine – Jordan – played by Halle Berry who is in the midst of a kidnapping situation. In the middle of the call, the lines gets disconnected and Jordan redials in a blind panic, betraying the location of the victim, whose mutilated body turns up in the news shortly thereafter. The movie then picks up the story six months later; Jordan is no longer an active call centre operator and has to take medicine for her continued guilt over making a mistake with that original call.
All this changes when another girl gets kidnapped by the same guy at the start of the movie. Luckily, she has a mobile phone with her so she can dial to the emergency services as she’s being stowed in the boot of the car. In fact, I thought that the entire first hour of the film, which is spent in the car is entirely realistic and believable and kudos to the people that wrote the script. This part of the movie is thrilling and gut wrenching at the same time due to a whole host of comedic errors by well meaning bystanders. Even the crazed serial killer, long a trope in Hollywood is well done and his wanting to get all Lannister on his sister is quite the sort of psychotic break the audience needs.
What I thought was insanely stupid was the final thirty minutes or so of the film. No, not that Jordan appears defeated and goes out looking for clues herself nor how the villain’s secrets are revealed. It has to do with the way Jordan attempts to rescue the victim. It’s not with the help of heavily armed police. Just her. I mean, really, you go out to the last known location of the kidnapper, find his Secret Underground Lair™ and then proceed to get out your iPhone 4, throw it around in your hands and then DROP IT STRAIGHT IN THE HOLE where it then loses reception, but doesn’t break! A first for an iPhone 4. A hole a couple of metres deep and it loses reception? Seriously, I get three bar reception twenty metres underground at a subway station with high voltage power lines and other gadgetry floating around.
Logically, you’d climb in after it, retrieve the phone and call the cops, no? Well, sort of. If you’re Halle Berry, you retrieve your phone but then will decide to take on the psycho – acting out his best impression of inappropriate brother-sister relationships – on your own. Seriously, worst plan ever. At least call the cops to alert them of the Secret Underground Lair™ and then go in to rescue the girl. At least if it cocks up royally, you can be sure the psycho kidnapper will get his just desserts.
In the end, the promise of a good, well scripted beginning and middle of the film was let down by a silly and badly thought out end of the film. It was almost as if the entire staff of writers gave up and started trawling through old scripts to warm up some sloppy seconds for a happy conclusion. That or the entire writing staff was exchanged for peanut eating macaques just when the important bits of the script was to be written.
Surprisingly good first two thirds let down by stupid writing at the final hurdle.
Should I watch this?
Yeah, it’s actually much better than you think. Suspenseful and well acted with a decent mystery attached.