In The Caller, Richard Ledes' 2008 promising neo-noir, Elliot Gould plays bird watcher and private eye FRANK TURLOTTE, who's hired -- despite his initial reluctance -- by an anonymous but apparently high-placed whistleblower (Frank Langella) at an international energy firm, E.N. Corporation, based in New York. He wants the detective to tail a man whom the company suspects is about to expose the company's corrupt practices in Latin America.
So far, so good, right?
But it turns out that the man Frank's been hired to tail and the man who hired him are one and the same. And as the two men's lives continue to intertwine, the puzzle pieces fall together, it's revealed that the man fully expects to be assassinated at any moment -- and that he's haunted by a childhood incident that occured way back during World War II.
Less a mystery or even a corporate thriller than a existential meditation on the meaning of life, guilt, memory and fear, this film was directed by Richard Ledes from a screenplay he wrote based on a story by Alain Didier-Weill, a French psychoanalyst.
And it shows. Soon enough, the films loses its way, the cleverly plotted puzzle gets weighed waylaid by pretensiosness; its intriguing set-up discarded in favour of overwrought and not always particularly coherent symbolism. Too bad -- there are some good actors and several interesting ideas involved in this mess.
The film made its debut at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, and went into general release the next year.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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