Friday 26 January 2024

REVIEW: On The Line (2024 Film) Starring Victoria Lucie and Directed by Oliver Pearn

Review by Jon Donnis
"On the Line," directed by Oliver Pearn in his impressive directorial debut, delivers an enthralling and expertly crafted thriller that manages to captivate its audience with minimal setup. Set in 1964 in the Channel Islands, the film revolves around 24-year-old switchboard operator Agnes (Victoria Lucie), who becomes embroiled in a complex and suspenseful situation when she receives a panicked call from Shirley (Harriet Walter), an elderly woman suffering from dementia claiming to be kidnapped.

Agnes swiftly notifies the police and gathers details from multiple callers, quickly piecing together the identity of the kidnapper. As she aids law enforcement in pursuing the culprit, the situation escalates in complexity, spiraling out of control. Will Agnes be able to rescue Shirley before the situation reaches a critical point?

One of the film's notable strengths is its ability to maintain tension despite its single-location premise. Pearn's direction, coupled with the powerful performances from Victoria Lucie and the experienced voices of Harriet Walter and Royce Pierrseon, keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. The film successfully explores the dynamics of a telephone operator getting involved in a crisis, providing a unique perspective in the thriller genre.

The narrative takes unexpected turns, especially in the latter part of the film, introducing twists that elevate the stakes and turn the story on its head. Pearn's ability to create suspense and mystery within the constraints of a minimal setup is commendable. Victoria Lucie, in the lead role of Agnes, shines and proves her capability to carry the film single-handedly.

While "On the Line" is a standout in the emergency dispatch thriller genre, it might fall short for some in terms of its runtime. The 74-minute duration leaves the audience craving more, although personally I loved the short run time, and the film does feel more like a radio drama than a feature film. However, this does not significantly detract from the overall quality of the viewing experience.

In conclusion, "On the Line" is a gripping thriller that effectively utilizes its single-location premise to deliver suspense and mystery. The film benefits from strong performances, unexpected twists, and Pearn's skillful direction. Despite its short runtime, the film is a must-watch for fans of the genre, earning a well-deserved score of 8.5 out of 10.

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