The Calling

"Very Good"

The Calling Review


Dark and haunting, this Canadian thriller has an offhanded style that balances a grisly mystery with real-life humour, plus characters who are easy to identify with. It may spark memories of Fargo with its snowy small-town female cop storyline, but it's a much moodier movie, delving into religious themes that add an emotionally unsettling twist. So even if the plot itself feels somewhat straightforward and inevitable, the atmosphere is riveting.

Susan Sarandon stars as past-her-prime police officer Hazel, using sardonic humour to get through each uneventful day. Then a family friend is violently murdered, and she decides to investigate the case herself. To tackle the first murder in Fort Dundas in four years, Hazel teams up with long-time colleague Ray (Gil Bellows) and newcomer Ben (Topher Grace), who has just transferred in from big-city Toronto, complete with his own issues. They soon link the killing to others around the country and, by consulting with a priest (Donald Sutherland) who's an expert in Latin, it becomes clear that these murders are part of a much greater plan that has a connection with early Christian mysticism. The question is whether they can predict who the next victim will be so they can catch the killer.

Director Jason Stone and writer Scott Abrahamovich draw the audience in with carefully developed characters and hilariously spiky interaction, then grab onto us with the intriguing mystery. There's a dark sense of foreboding from the start, tempered with dry wit to keep us off balance. They also let us see the soft-spoken killer (Christopher Heyerdahl) early on, which further complicates the story and elevates the suspense into something darkly personal. At the centre, Sarandon gives a wonderfully sassy performance, bouncing superbly off of Bellows and Grace, who has some subtle depth of his own. The presence of veterans like Burstyn (as Hazel's ex-judge mother) and Sutherland adds extra oomph.

Not many police thrillers bother to tackle questions of life and death, exposing layers within characters who are all at the end of their rope and in need of some form of redemption. And Hazel is a fascinating woman at a point in life rarely depicted on film. There's also a hint early on that the victims are almost complicit in their own deaths, which adds further unnerving detail to each scene by hinting at the bigger picture. So even if the whole film feels rather predictable, heading to a corny face-off, its details keep us on the edge of our seats. And even better, the ideas swirling around within the film linger long afterwards.



The Calling

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 5th August 2014

Distributed by: Vertical Entertainment

Production compaines: Breaking Ball Films, Stage 6 Films, Manis Film

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jason Stone

Producer: Randy Mani, Lonny Dubrofsky, Scott Abramovitch, Nicholas Tabarrok

Starring: as Hazel Micallef, as Detective Ray Green, as Emily Micallef, as Ben Wingate, as Father Price, as Simon, Ella Ballentine as Rose Batten, Kristin Booth as Grace Batten, Katy Breier as Melanie Cartright, as Dale Varney, Shane Daly as Dale Varney, Darren Josephs as Police Officer, Courtney Lyons as Jolene, Jane Moffat as Jane Buck, Paulino Nunes as Officer Mathieson, Kevin Parent as Spere, Janine Parkinson as Mason's Secretary, Jonathan Watton as Father Glendinning

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