Friday, October 21, 2011

The Caller (2011)

A magnet for disaster

This is a drama/mystery/thriller about a woman named Mary (Rachelle Lefevre) who moves into a new apartment in the capital of Puerto Rico and is trying to start her new life over again after finalizing paper work from a controlling partner. Though the tiny island might not be the best place to make that happen. She goes to classes, talks to the friendly gardener George (Luis Guzman) and converses on an old land line phone--remember those?--with a woman named Rose (Lorna Raver) who's confused and looking for a man named Bobby.

The calls become more persistent and personal with the coincidences between them mounting up. Each woman thinks the other loco but try to find a middle ground for information that makes them at odds for the time line they share since Rose thinks she's in the late '70s. Rose tries to show she exists by describing evidence around the house to prove to Mary she's been there. Meanwhile other people demand attention from the curly haired blue-eyed wonder with her ex Steven (Ed Quinn) who's stalking her despite a restraining order. She manages to form a budding friendship with a teacher named John (Stephen Moyer) at the school from getting jumpy about supposedly seeing someone in her car. The audience isn't sure of the big picture at first and this just looks like a woman with the worst of luck. Though her new situation might just give her the know how and empowerment she needs to see a light at the other end of the tunnel...or possibly just a darker side of herself to do what needs to be done.

The viewer is thrown some distractions with the goings on in Mary's life, but the one with the greatest power to control it comes and goes. The pacing moves gradually to give the story some time to grow and to put together what's culminating. This could have played the is-she-imagining it, is-she-not angle a little better. Sometimes not so obvious clues happen and she believes, while other times, obvious things happen and she's oblivious. People are there one moment, gone the next and every time Mary tries to get her life back in order, she gets knocked back a few steps until the main realization fully sets in. What holds this back is the audience at points is given too much time to think of the possibilities, which for the cinematic experience expands your imagination no doubt and was definitely a neat idea but how the mechanics line up leaves some loopholes. Not to mention when some red herrings come her way to throw you off scent, as well as a series of what if questions happen at the same time that make this go from an exceptional case to astronomical, though amusing nonetheless even if it's not likely to happen to you.

The character development is a little bumpy in that the main actress will go from calm and rational to jumpy and terrified, sometimes with back to back scenes that make pinning down her demeanor and temperament a little inconsistent for relating points. The abusive and manipulative character Steven seems like a caricature ripped right out of an old Lifetime movie--don't ask how I know that--the way he does what he wants and especially when he wants because he's a testosterone fueled man with no one to put him in his place--he's just missing a flannel and a permanent beer in one hand. The setting in Puerto Rico is partly utilized though isn't concentrated on unless it pertains to the story. Nearly all of the characters are from different nationalities, much like the commonwealth's own history. On the other hand--like Mario Bava's ''The Telephone"--the phone ringing becomes a grating echo in your ear for both the intruding sound and for what's to come. The woman on the other end has a sweet but also disturbing voice that starts to become more and more desperate and dangerous and might not have been calling the wrong number after all.

Rating: 6.5/10

Director: Matthew Parkhill (Dot the I)
Stars: Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Luis Guzman, Ed Quinn, Lorna Raver
Link: IMDB

No comments:

Post a Comment