If When a Stranger Calls had an art-house makeover, Babycall would be the result.
This Norwegian drama-thriller opens to a high shot of a woman lying on some grass – battered, bruised and possibly dead – capturing and holding your attention immediately. This tense atmosphere continues throughout the whole film, and Babycall is filled with twists and turns that made me constantly jump and shy away from the screen.
Noomi Rapace, who you’ll remember from the Swedish The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo series, plays Anna – a panicked and extremely cautious mother to Anders, who is solidly depicted by the young Norwegian Vetle Qvenild Werring. Anna and Anders are under the witness protection programme after an encounter with Anna’s abusive husband.
After moving to a gloomy apartment block in suburban Oslo, Anna remains constantly on edge. To ensure that Anders sleeps safely, she buys a baby monitor from a socially incapable man at the electronic store, played by Kristoffer Joner who recently starred in World Movies’ King of Devil’s Island. Things take a turn for the worst when Anna picks up another signal on the baby monitor, which seems to sound like another child being abused in the apartment building.
The plot deviates and continually causes you to ask the question – what is real? Pål Sletaune has elegantly crafted this thought-provoking thriller, ensuring he doesn’t reveal any answers until the very end, and even then a few lingering questions still remain. Fernando Vel√°zquez, who is also known for his work on The Impossible and The Orphanage, matches this impressive direction with a beautiful score. This exceptional combination leaves no doubt as to why Babycall was awarded four awards at Norway’s Amanda awards including Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Sound Design.
Rapace’s onscreen charisma makes her a joy to watch – her superbly executed depiction of Anna is truly captivating. Her performance alone warrants a recommendation of this film. This combined with the superb direction and sound design ,makes Babycall a must-see delight.
Babycall, premieres at 7.50pm tonight Thursday 16 January as part of WM Premiere.