Wednesday 27 December 2006

Phone Booth (2002) - ickleReview (DVD)

Colin Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a self-centred publicist in New York who is held hostage in a phone booth he has used to call his girlfriend (Katie Holmes), a young actress he's trying to take advantage of. He used a phone booth so that his wife (Radha Mitchell) wouldn't see the calls on his cell phone bill. The caller (Kiefer Sutherland) is holding him at gunpoint from an unseen window with a sighted sniper rifle. Short and sweet at 81 minutes, the tension builds in long takes as the caller exacts a conscience from Stu, enjoying his mind games and manipulation in the sight of TV news cameras, tourists, passers-by and a trigger-itching police presence.

Farrell's performance is impressive. He's in almost every scene of the movie and has lots of dialogue. (But then so does any stage actor, so I don't think he should be singled out just because he could remember his lines.) The long takes build the tension. Joel Schumacher has made an entertaining film on a tight budget and 10-day shooting schedule. The ending seems to come a little soon and doesn't quite pay off. I felt like it should have gone on for another 10 or 15 minutes. It's a little anti-climactic, but at least it's trying something different.

Nugget: next time you see a phonebox ringing, it's best not to pick up. Oh, and don't cheat on your wife.

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