Riveting ‘Call’ hangs up without a decent third act

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Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013 12:00 am

Rare is the thriller that goes as completely and utterly wrong as “The Call” does at almost precisely the one-hour mark. Which is a crying shame, because for an hour, this is a riveting, by-the-book kidnapping, an “Amber Alert” with a Hollywood budget and a director with a sense of urgency and camera lenses that put the action, the fear and horror, right in your face.

Brad Anderson (“Transsiberian,” “The Machinist”) turns this novel procedural, a serial killer hunt set inside L.A.’s 911 call center (The Hive), into a real edge-of-your-seat thriller. Given Halle Berry as a veteran 911 operator whose mistake months ago haunts her, and Abigail Breslin as a kidnapped teen on the cellphone from a darkened car trunk, and a half-decent tale of horror, guilt, problem solving and redemption, Anderson couldn’t go far wrong.

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