Newest Review: ... and would watch it again if it was showing on TV however I doubt I would buy the DVD. ==Additional Information== The film was released i... more
Get in a Phone Booth with Colin Farrell
Phone Booth (DVD)
Member Name: cerys82
Phone Booth (DVD)
Advantages: Very tense, a really good performance by Farrell
Disadvantages: Some dated elements, the casting of the sniper is a bit of a missed opportunity
Phone Booth, directed by Joel Schumacher was released in 2002, however the script had apparently been banging around in Hollywood for a number of years which is probably why some elements of the premise could be perceived as a little dated.
Almost instantly we are introduced to Stu Shepherd (Colin Farrell) a fast-talking flashy publicist who walks fast around New York yelling orders into his mobile or to his overawed and umpaid intern. He takes a break from this to stealthily sneak into the titular Phone Booth, located in a less than salubrious street in the city, remove his wedding ring and call aspiring actress Pamela (Katie Holmes) with flagrant promises of meetings with important people under the guise of luring her to a downtown hotel.
On putting the phone down, things take a dramatic and tense turn which does not relent for the remainder of the film. The phone randomly starts ringing, Stu picks it up to an anonymous caller who begins by lightly winding him up before making it very obvious that this is no wrong number and is in fact a sniper who knows of Stu's various flaws and indiscretions and is going to teach him a moral lesson which could well end his life.
Rapidly, the threats turn into violence and the booth and the man within become the focus of intense police and media attention. In particular, Police Captain Ed Ramey is tasked with heading up the response to what is now a siege and who begins to realise that Stu is not a murderer having a 'Breaking Down' type episode but someone who has no choice but to be stuck in that booth if he has any chance of saving himself or someone he loves.
Essentially this is a taut high-concept psychological thriller with ramped up tension throughout. As the action is largely contained to quite a small space a lot of the twists and turns are reliant on the performances and the dialogue between Stu and the sniper whilst mediating the behaviour of those outside the booth as more and more attention is focussed on them and the instigator becomes more demanding and unpredictable.
Coming in at just 77 minutes long, and operating pretty much in real time as you would imagine this is not a film which messes around and pretty much drops you right in it at the start. It maintains its tension well throughout the length of the film, letting the plot take all the twist and turns it needs. Of course it has no real depth but as a good popcorn moview you really could not ask for anything more.
Performance wise only Farrell really gets a chance to shine, so given the amount of dialogue and that all the action is focussed on him, it is only just as well that he gives a really cracking performance here being dramatic without descending into hamminess.
Of course, the notion of somebody being hemmed into a phone booth was dated even on its release, not least because of the advent of mobile technologies and the growing redundancy of these structures. However, they have tried to explain this away with a heavy handed voiceover in the opening minutes of the film.
I would not be giving anything away to say that the voice of the sniper comes from Kiefer Sutherland. Not least because he is named as one of the stars on the DVD itself but also, thanks to 24 - he know has one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood. I think that having a well-known and well-publicised voice in this role was a mistake, mainly because as things turn out in the end (which I won't give away), it would have benefitted from leaving a bit of mystery there and may have had a slightly more satisfying conclusion that feels less rushed.
Aside from your standard subtitles, audio options etc there is:
'The Making of Phone Booth documentary' - a 30 minute feature which details how the film was shot on what they call and 'independent film budget and an independent film timescale'. This is a pretty comprehensive documentary which takes on board comments from various members of the technical crew and also quite interestingly shows how some of the key moments were filmed.
After this very good documentary the commentary by the director almost seems a little redundant, but it is interesting enough I suppose (speaking as someone who is really not a fan of commentaries) and Schumacher obviously has a great deal of enthusiastic for the project.
This was never going to be a film to go down as a classic but thanks to some really good pacing and dialogue and a stellar performance by Colin Farrell I think it is virtually impossible not to get sucked into it. The premise is nothing if not intriguing and you certainly get a good if not overly deep evening's entertainment out of this film.
Summary: A great popcorn thriller!