Phone Booth
Dir: Joel Schumacher
Star: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell, Katie Holmes
Cert / Year: 15 - R / 2002
Format: DVD R2

Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) is an arrogant publicist lying his way to success in New York. Everything changes however when he answers a call in a phone booth heís been using to cheat on his wife. Now he is at the mercy of the caller (Kiefer Sutherland) who claims he is a sniper somewhere in the buildings above. He seems to know all about Stu and is holding him hostage until he comes clean with his wife (Radha Mitchell) and his girlfriend (Kate Holmes). Relying on his wife and the unlikely help of Capt. Ramey (Forest Whitaker) Stuís life will change even if he does manage to escape alive.

This highly original suspense thriller from director Joel Schumacher (8mm, Falling Down, and ehem Batman and Robin) is filled with action and unbelievable moments when all of New York comes to a standstill for one harrowing conclusion.

"Isnít it funny, you hear a phone ring and it could be anybody, but a ringing phone has to be answered doesnít it? Donít even think about leaving that phone booth. Youíre going to learn to obey me." This is the poignant opening statement of this film, affording us a glimpse of what is to follow for the next eighty minutes, setting the threatening overtones and capturing the viewers attention from the onset.

How can a decent thriller be made by using a man in a phone booth, talking to his kidnapper, via the phone? Impossible, it canít be done, I hear you cry, but there you would be wrong. Not only is Phone Booth a tense thriller but also the acting is first class. The characters fit together well and are totally believable. From the outset the film intrigues.

Keifer Sutherland as the shooter has that wonderful, menacing, psychotic voice which portrays a sense of impending doom. If you fail to comply with all his orders, no matter how difficult or personal, he will shoot to kill and not think twice about it, after all he has had practice. He sets himself up as an Avenging Angel, taking the moral high ground and in his warped mind he is doing the right thing. It is a testament to Keiferís own acting ability that he is able to convey to us the sense of menace and the illogical logic of one of the main players in this film.

Stu is a wheeler-dealer well used to quick thinking and talking his way out of a tight corner. We see him with his young helper setting up deals and talking his way out of a potentially hostile encounter, reversing the situation so much so, the initial complaint is forgotten and the guy ends up actually thanking Stu and telling him how wonderful he is! That is the sign of an accomplished, self-assured publicist, and a fine performance from the big eye browed Colin Farrell (with an even more impressive American accent).

Interesting then to have a man well used to talking his way out of paper bag, facing this faceless kidnapper, who has it within his power to destroy all that Stu holds dear, his wife, his work and himself. At first Stu is unbelieving of his situation and he tries to take charge of his environment but to no avail. A few well-placed shots put paid to that.

This film is not dissimilar to Wesley Snipes 2002 film Liberty Stands Still in which the female lead is handcuffed to a hot-dog vendors cart while her kidnapper makes demands. If you enjoy Phone Booth take the time to watch this film as well. I think youíll find it interesting.


Your life is on the line.


Stu: That's it. This call is ended.
The Caller: Not until I say it is.
Stu: What happens if I hang up?
The Caller: You don't really want to find out.

The Caller: You're in this position because you are not telling the truth.
Stu: I'm in this position because YOU HAVE A GUN!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Picture 2.35:1 Anamorphic Fine.
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 Ok but this is a dialogue intensive film.
Features Alternative ending
Commentary by Joel Schumacher
Making Of featurette (28 mins)
Verdict Yet another fine transfer with a couple of good extras, however maybe a few more wouldn't have gone amiss.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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