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

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

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.