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BFI London Film Festival: Call Back – Review

It’s every actors dream to get that callback. Called back because you are good at what you do and you stand out in a crowd. For aspiring actor Larry de Cecco, the tough and ruthless world of acting isn’t treating him so well. Awkward advert auditions after awkward advert audition, it appears that this man desperately wants a break. The mundane, monotony of his day job as a removal man pays the bills but seems to be consuming his soul in the process.

Acting out in juvenile and outright bizarre manner seems to be his only past time until Alexandra a struggling actress comes to couch surf in his apartment. Things change, but certainly not for the better. Despite the characters presented before us, Call Back is nothing other than purposely cringe worthy. Even the man’s voice is a run of the mill game show host impression, almost as if he is constantly practicing his so called acting skills. A black, bleak comedy that delves into the deepest parts if a fragmented, damaged human mind. Larry is an eccentric fellow, a take no crap kind of man (unless it’s for an audition). He says odds things, does things that people wouldn’t dream of, yet he clings onto his religion as some kind of gravitational pull towards normality. Albeit, faith can’t save him from the devil he is about to transform into.

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As Alexandra makes herself at home, Larry’s dark uncontrollable urges surface as he watches her undress through a hidden camera in her room. Creepiness fills the screen as the fact that couch surfing is strange anyway but now such a thought rapidly becomes the last thing on any woman’s list. Alexandra’s fate is completely undeserved as we witness Larry utterly loose his mind. Chilling sequences representing his unhinged stoicism resemble a somewhat disturbing resolution similar to that of Hitchcock’s Psycho and such films of the same ilk.  As things take a tumble into dark territory, faith seems to be the only thing he clings to, well that and his various auditions he attends.

From the get go Call Back is a hard one to stomach. It seems the minds behind this project wanted to give us a film that we really have to hate to love, although this certainly isn’t for the average Joe. As this rather short feature develops it is truly unnerving how he can go about his business and not even be bothered by his actions because he goes to church and all is forgiven.  The premise is there but as we see Larry transform into this beast, one can’t help but think that in this case, the Indie road simply wasn’t the right one to take.

Image from Callback

Call Back is the American Dream’s cousin from hell. You can have the house, have the job, perhaps even have the girl for just a minute and in the end it becomes a terrifying nightmare. A very raw and extreme exploration of how fragmented the human mind can be and also not to judge a book by its cover – this man may seem like a successful actor yet underneath it all he has done something unspeakable.

Until, of course. he gets a call back.


Call Back is part of the BFI London Film Festival 

 

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