The Call Directed by: Brad Wilson Written by: Richard D’Ovidio (screenplay), Richard D’Ovidio, Nicole D’Ovidio & Jon Bokenkamp (story) Starring: Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut and Michael Eklund
Right before The Call takes a dive into its third act abyss, the main character, a 911 phone operator, is told by her supervisor to go home. She was just disconnected from a kidnapped teenager (Abigail Breslin), but her job does not allow her to have resolution. That’s for the officers that respond, and she just gets to see how it unfolds on the news.
Many reviews of this taut, often exceptional thriller have condemned the take-no-prisoners absurdity of the last 20 or so minutes. Instead of the safe if chaotic confines of the 911 call center, Jordan Turner (Halle Berry and her hair) becomes a sort of vigilante and takes it upon herself to stop the serial killer who she creepily encounters on the other end of the line twice before being disconnected. The ending is implausible, to be sure, but it turns the movie into a feminist parable, one where neither woman becomes a victim and show no signs of sainthood when they finally do incapacitate the killer (Michael Eklund).
Cloud Atlas Directed by: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski Written by: Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski (screenplay), David Mitchell (novel) Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent and Hugo Weaving
Tom Hanks and Halle Berry have come unstuck in time. Over the course of Cloud Atlas’ wildly ambitious 172 minutes, the two mainstream Hollywood actors and a plethora of others- Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant- appear as wildly different characters in just as wildly different time periods, from California in 1973 to post-apocalyptic Hawaii hundreds of years from now.
The six varying and intersecting narrative threads in Cloud Atlas are stunningly shot and at times narratively captivating. As adapted by Andy and Lana Wachowki and Tom Tykwer (who all co-wrote and directed), it amounts to a beautiful mess. There are too many narrative threads and characters to begin with, and adding poor execution and editing to that just makes it worse.