Movie Review: ‘The Calling’ Starring Susan Sarandon, Topher Grace & Donald Sutherland

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It’s been far too long since Susan Sarandon has headlined a movie. Sure, she’s been in Tammy, The Company You Keep and a handful of other films but she hasn’t been the star. Roles for older woman are few and far between but come on, Hollywood. What’s up?

Is The Calling, her latest film all we’re going to get? I hope not because the film is on the south side of good.

Sarandon is Detective Hazel Micallef, who works in the always drizzly and cold looking town of Port Dundas. It’s a relatively normal place until it’s beset by some rather horrific murders. She and her staff, including the newly transferred Detective (Topher Grace), must find the serial killer before he finishes his ‘calling.’

Dire3cted by Jason Stone, the film is dark and moody and the serial killer angle had some ideas I’d never seen before. But as it got closer to Act 3, it starts to lose any of that cleverness and seemed to run out of steam. It just becomes a story where our main characters get deeper and deeper in danger. We watch the rest because we want to see what happens but we’re not invested in the characters.

Sarandon’s Micallef isn’t without her issues; she’s got a bad back and needs surgery (she even steals pain pills from a victim), nagging mother (Ellen Burstyn) and former flame that she still seems to pine for. Weird thing is though, we don’t really see her have any back pain. Maybe one time she winces but knowing people with back pain supposedly that severe, there is a gingerness to their walk. She’s just not that interesting of a character.

There’s a whole religious aspect to the story – the killer believes he’s got a higher authority – that falls apart at the end. Mostly because it seemed like the filmmakers just wanted to wrap up the story to put the main characters in danger.

The cast is fine. No one puts in a great performance except for Christopher Heyerdalh who is appropriately creepy.

At one point, one of the main characters is attacked by the killer. We surely think he’s a goner based on what we’ve just watched. But then, a few scenes later, there they are back in the saddle. A minor explanation of how he’s doing. I wanted to know what the heck happened. How did they get out of that? What gives?

We’ll never know. And odds are we don’t care.

Directed by:  Jason Stone

Written by: Scott Abramovitch (adapted screenplay), Inger Ash Wolfe (novel)

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Topher Grace, Gil Bellows, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland, Christopher Heyerdahl

 

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