Projections - Movie Reviews

Phone Booth

Phone Booth

Phone  Booth is an odd film in that it takes us nowhere in 80 minutes.  The premise is that a little man is caught acting big and his lies as well as thoughts have caught the attention of a sniper and the drama plays out in a 3 foot by 3 foot by 7 foot phone booth.

Starring Colin Ferrell, Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes, Radha Mitchell and Kiefer Sutherland the film moves quickly as we see Stuart Shepard (Ferrell), a smart mouthed, quick talking publicist who thinks he has the world by the short hairs, dragging his assistant along a New York City street lying to one than another of his contacts to try to push the career of one of his clients.

It seems that young Stu has caught the attention of someone he will soon wish he had not.  After dismissing his assistant on yet another menial task, Stu goes to a phone booth on the corner of 53rd and 8th to call pretty young actress named Pamela (Katie Holmes) whom he is contemplating having an affair with.  This pattern has been repeated for many days and if Stu is nothing else, he is a creature of this habit.  The phone booth call is so that the phone number never appears on his cell phone bill which his wife (Radha Mitchell) might just see.  Smart man!

As soon as the call to Pamela is complete, the story takes off.  Ring … Ring … Ring.  The voice on the other end (Kiefer Sutherland) soon informs Stu that he is guilty of many things, among them “of inhumanity to your fellow man”.  Being a man of supreme confidence Stu ignores the voice on the other end of the phone and soon an innocent bystander is lying dead on the street and the voice has Stu's full attention.

The media circus begins and the street swell with police and on lookers.  Taking the lead for the police is a captain (Forest Whitaker) who has a past - we never find out what the past is, but he is not going to allow “a suicide by police” to occur on his watch.  The voice demands that Stu not tell a word of what is happening even as Pamela and his wife are both soon on the scene and in the snipers crosshairs.

The reason this film works is that we never see the villain.  We see the self assured, self promoting and confident man of Stu turn into a vulnerable and pathetic man who would almost rather die than to tell the world of his true nature.  We see an invisible sniper playing God with anyone or anything he pleases.  Toying to his delight as his subject squirms and begs for his life and the lives of others, knowing full well that the only end to this game is the one he decides.

The twists and turns make this film run quickly and never allow you the time to see the holes in the plot until you are driving home.  Enjoy the film for what it is and don't try to dissect after the fact.  Remember the character is simply a pawn in a game where death is the only likely outcome.

 
Frank
Chris
Tony
Jim
Jennifer
Kathleen
Avg.
Phone Booth
B
B+
B
B-
B+
 
B
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