The Caller

"Weak"

The Caller Review


Richard Ledes's cool and haunted neo-noir The Caller at least for half its running time goes down like a smoky Old Fashioned. But as the film winds down, the cocktail turns out to have been mixed with a vat of cheap bourbon.

Frank Langella, in all his icy glory, plays Jimmy Stevens, a meticulous and cultured executive from a nefarious international energy conglomerate called the EN Corporation. The EN Corporation has committed atrocities in South America that Jimmy could not abide, and he has blown the whistle on their corporate evils. But since the corporation has its agents everywhere, Jimmy knows he is doomed and, with a slump of his shoulders and deep sigh, he awaits his impending assassination (in Red Bank, New Jersey no less).

Aside from sitting around on benches on Central Park and reading Art of Memory as he awaits his fate, Jimmy also hires a rumpled, retired, bird-watching detective, Frank Turlotte (Elliot Gould) to track his movements during his final weeks. Frank, not saying much for his detective work, doesn't realize that Jimmy, utilizing a telephone voice distorter, is the same guy that Frank is following.

Ledes captures New York City in stylish widescreen compositions, even if most of the buildings in town are photographed held up by support scaffolding, as if the vertical city is ready to fall down upon the characters. Ledes channels Vertigo, Rear Window, Chinatown, and Blow-Up to move the film forward, but an intrusive flashback to World War II France overtakes the noir aspects of the film, redirecting the film back to a troublesome character study.

Langella and Gould play their roles as if through an ooze of portent, and their interactions resemble acting exercises whispered in Torquemada's waiting room. Langella is all brooding and doom as he awaits his destiny and only perks up when he visits his dying mother. Unbelievable flashbacks to Jimmy's traumatic childhood in France during World War II with another boy muddy the waters even further. (It's doubly confusing since it is difficult to tell which of the actors in the flashback is supposed to be Jimmy, since neither of the young actors bears even a passing resemblance to Langella; Ledes should have checked out The Twelve Chairs or The Wrath of God to at least get a bead on what Langella might have looked like as a youth.)

Still, it is great to see Gould back again in a detective mode and his waddling around his cramped apartment while checking out birds implies what may have happened to Phillip Marlowe if aged into dotage.

There is another detective in the film: Anabel Sosa, a little girl who mines Jimmy's past for the film's superfluous backstory. Sosa is quite a find and there is a nice little scene of her sitting with her doll, calmly trying to get to doll to sit up, that is a breather from Ledes's hermetic control of the film. Also on hand is Laura Harring of Mulholland Drive fame, as a nightclub chanteuse who, like Dorothy Lamour in Road to Hong Kong, has nothing to do with anything and just appears as a sultry smoke-and-mirrors cleavage display three-quarters of the way through the proceedings.

Aside from featuring Gould's best role in decades, The Caller is just a murky, pretentious muddle.

Which is it, Czech or Slovakia?



The Caller

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 22nd February 2013

Distributed by: Bankside Films

Production compaines: Metrol Technology, The Salt Company International, Alcove Entertainment, Head Gear Films, Pimienta

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 29%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 5

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Rose Lazar, as Mary Kee, as Rose Lazar, as Steven, as Rose Lazar, Lydia Echevarria as Old Woman, Aris Mejias as Young Woman, Gladys Rodriguez as Concetta Guidi, Alfredo De Quesada as Attorney Davis, Brian Tester as Attorney Kirby, Grace Connelly as Dr. Hain, Marisé Alvarez as Nurse

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.