Sunday 6 August 2023

Movie Review: On The Line (2022)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Romuald Boulanger
Starring: Mel Gibson, William Moseley
Running Time: 104 minutes

Synopsis: In Los Angeles, Elvis Cooney (Mel Gibson) is the host of a late-night call-in radio show suffering from stagnant ratings. On the evening of his birthday, Elvis' regular producer and co-presenter Mary (Alia Seror O'Neill) introduces new technician Dylan (William Moseley). A routine night takes a dark turn when caller "Gary" claims to be at Elvis' house and threatens to kill his wife and daughter as revenge for the callous treatment of a former co-worker.

What Works Well: Although On The Line carries some some superficial echoes from Talk Radio (1988), director and writer Romuald Boulanger has something else in mind, and gradually shifts the dial to a more physical mystery-in-the-making. Star Mel Gibson can still command the screen, and occasionally succeeds in elevating the routine skulking-around-an-empty-building premise.

What Does Not Work As Well: With the villain confined to a stock voice on the other end of the line, the threat is nullified into nothingness. The script struggles to both prolong the drama and justify the increasingly violent episodes, ultimately betraying the relatively easy-to-predict twists.

Conclusion: The radio signal fades into background static.

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