Phone Booth (8)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley

 

This idea was first proposed to Alfred Hitchcock thirty years ago and apparently he was interested.  Good thing he didnít make it because the last good movie he made was before Psycho in 1960.  After Psycho everything was second rate.

 This film had a lot of big actors who expressed interest, signed up, then bailed.  Then Colin Farrell signed up and made it but they had to keep it in the can until Farrell became better known.  After he established himself in The Recruit and Daredevil, it was ready to be released.  Then Iraq happened and it had to be shelved again.  Now itís finally out.

Stu Shepherd (Farrell) is an egotistical, smarmy PR guy a la Tony Curtis in Sweet Smell of Success, who uses a phone booth to hit on a girl so his wife wonít see the calls on his cell phone bill.  After hanging up after making his daily call to his girl friend, the phone rings and he answers.  The Caller (Kiefer Sutherland) tells Stu heís got a gun trained on him and if he hangs up, heís dead.  The rest of the movie is Shepherd trying to survive in what appears to be an impossible situation.

 The Caller shoots a passer by to establish his bona fides.  The cops come, headed by Forest Whitaker, and they think Stu has a gun and that he shot the passerby.  Stu is in a pickle, trapped in the phone booth in front of the cops and a huge, gathering crowd on a major New York City street.

 The entire film takes place in the phone booth.  Not an easy task, it is extremely well directed by Joel Schumacher, from a good script by Larry Cohen.  Farrell is spectacular.  Sutherlandís voice is scary and threatening in its calmness. This is a believable, entertaining, tense, well-made, well acted 80-minute movie that does not telegraph its ending.

 April 12, 2003

 The End

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