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Phone Booth (2003)

R 90 minutes

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Written by Larry Cohen

 · Colin Farrell
 · Forest Whitaker
 · Radha Mitchell
 · Katie Holmes
 · Kiefer Sutherland

Review by Thom Stricklin

We've been seeing previews for Phone Booth for quite some time. In that time, relative nobody Colin Farrell has made a name for himself through roles like Minority Report's Det. Danny Witwer or Daredevil's Bullseye, not to mention building a reputation as the heavy-drinking Irishman who dates Britney Spears. At last, with Phone Booth, we get to see him take center stage.




What's the story behind Phone Booth? Simple. Stu Shepard (Farrell), a small-time publicist and unfaithful husband, watches his life unravel as a mysterious caller (Sutherland) keeps him pinned in a phone booth with a sniper rifle. As the police show up, along with Stu's wife and girlfriend, he's forced to comply with the caller while not provoking a firefight with the cops. The writing doesn't contain layer upon layer of hidden meaning, as one might expect with a film like this. However, I feel it's to the film's advantage. Simplicity provides opportunity for raw emotion.

Yes, emotion. This film has a lot of it. Director Joel Schumacher looks to have put his Batman & Robin debacle behind him. The camera shots and editing in this film, in combination with the story playing out real-time, really adds to the intensity of the film.




What really makes this a great film, however, is the superb performance by Colin Farrell. His performance displays the full gamut of possible emotions--cool collection, mild aggrivation, shock and fear, desperation, guilt, redemption--and he pulled it off without a hitch, a single room for complaint. In my opinion, it's the single best performance I've seen on the screen for quite some time. I only hope this film is eligible for some awards ceremonies, and Colin Farrell is recognized for his work.

Though the supporting cast is rather inconsequential, they are no slouches, either. Whitaker is convincing as a mouthy but concerned negotiator, and Sutherland is chilling as the uknown voice on the other line.



Though there are plenty of films to come, I think Phone Booth is the best film I've seen to date this year. This is a must-see at the box office... Don't risk losing the full experience of this film by waiting till DVD.

362 Words Published: 9 April 2003

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