The Calling (2014) ****

The Calling is a Canadian crime-thriller, directed by Jason Stone to a screenplay by Scott Abramovitch. It is based on a 2008 novel of the same title, written by Michael Redhill, which was published under the pen name Inger Ash Wolfe. The film stars Susan Sarandon, Gil Bellows, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, Donald Sutherland, and Christopher Heyerdahl – several unusually prominent names for a fairly inconspicuous production.
The Calling’s protagonist is police inspector Hazel Micallef (played by Susan Sarandon), who resides with her mother Emily, (Ellen Burstyn,) a retired judge, in a rural Ontario town. Hazel is sort of a combination of Prime Suspect’s DCI Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren,) and Fargo’s police chief Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand.) Without going too deep into the plot, Hazel is faced with a string of unusual murders that disrupt her quiet, gloomy life.
Critique of this film had been polarized with some critics regarding it as a horribly bad movie, wondering what the likes of Sarandon are doing in it, while others singing its praises. I happen to enjoy it. I felt The Calling presented a solid plotline, that, even if not always surprising in its twists, bears a heart under its many layers of cold Canadian weather. It is, ultimately, a story of redemption, for both the protagonist and the antagonist. There is no right and wrong; there is only, possibly, second chances. Sarandon, as well as the rest of the cast, manage to walk a thin line, avoiding making some of the scenes a cliché by pure talent and firm direction. Notable is also Christopher Heyerdahl’s performance; quite outstanding.