|Phone Booth (2003)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes
Director: Joel Schumacher
Set to be released late last year, "Phone Booth," directed by Joel Schumacher, was held back only weeks before its release due to the DC sniper shootings. After countless months of waiting, "Phone Booth" is finally out, and this fantastic suspense-thriller is everything I hoped it would be. Boasting great performances by both Colin Farrell and "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, Schumacher, who's notorious for big-time films with big-time disappointments, finally scores.
Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a flashy publicist who strolls down the streets of New York in his Italian suits and chatting on his collection of cell phones like he's God. On his way down Eighth Avenue one afternoon, a day no different than his usual routine, Stu steps into a phone booth to make a call to Pamela (Katie Holmes), a client of his that means more to him than just business.
After hanging up with Pamela, the phone rings and Stu's curiosity leads him to pick it up. The man on the phone (Sutherland) explains to Stu that he has a sniper-rifle aimed at his head, and if he hangs up, he will be shot. Frightened as to why he has become the target of a psychotic breakdown, the sniper's intentions, while somewhat silly as they may be, center on the fact that Stu is a sinner -- he lies to progress his own life and fulfill his own fantasies.
The film takes place in real time, so the action stays primarily in one spot and there is little room for character development. It's the acting and writing, which are both first-rate, that manage to stretch the film into a tense but concise 80 minutes. Farrell, as in all his other films, steals the show, carrying the full 80 minutes on his own back, aside from the constant anger and banter through the phone that comes from Sutherland's hilarious performance as the voice of the sniper.
If there is only one film you should see before the summer season's big budget parade, make it "Phone Booth." It's short, it's smart, it's suspenseful and it's worth every cent you'll pay.