for pervasive language and some violence.
as Stu Shepard
John Enos III
Richard T. Jones
A standout performance from Colin Farrell highlighted a decent Phone Booth. Which was a good thing considering where the movie took place.
Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a publicist in New York City who one day answers a ringing phone at a phone booth in midtown Manhattan. The caller tells Shepard that if he doesn't do exactly what he says, Shepard is a dead man. The caller proves his point by killing a pimp in front of his hookers, which leads to a massive police situation complete with camera crews from the local TV stations. Shepard can't tell anyone what's going on because the caller threatens to kill him or Shepard's wife, but he manages to do enough so that the police captain in charge (Forest Whitaker) figures out there's a sniper on the loose. In the end they manage to track down the killer... or do they?
Colin Farrell really delivered in a movie that needed a strong lead role. The movie was short, coming in at 80 minutes, but 75 of those minutes are spent in and around a single phone booth and Farrell's character. Without a strong performance, the entire movie would have fallen flat. He played the arrogant publicist perfectly and even when he was falling apart, still managed to show his distain for things he couldn't control. Which was his character in a nutshell. He enjoyed being able to control and manipulate people, but this was one situation where someone else was in control and it totally broke him down. The rest of the cast was simply on the sidelines as Farrell was front and center throughout.
The problem with Phone Booth is the age old question of why was all this happening? Everything that took place was well done. Well photographed, well acted. But without a good reason as to why it was all happening, it felt like something was missing. The called (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) said that he had killed two people previously. One was a suspected child pornographer, the other a guy who bilked stockholders out of millions of dollars. Certainly not reason enough to be shot in cold blood on the street, but enough reason for a movie plot. In Stu Shepard's case however, his biggest fault seemed to be he wanted to cheat on his wife. Not that he actually did cheat on his wife, just that he was trying to with an actress he knew (Katie Holmes). How or why the caller chose Stu is beyond me. In a city of millions, why someone would choose this guy as someone to terrorize, well, I never understood that, and that made the movie less entertaining. There was nothing really wrong with Stu; he isn't any different than millions of other people in the country. I guess the problem is that they couldn't make him too bad, because they needed the audience to sympathize with him in order for the movie to work. But by not giving the audience an explanation as to why he was being stalked, the writer left a big hole in the middle of an otherwise good movie.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Overall, Phone Booth was a decent movie. Colin Farrell was terrific as the man trapped in the booth, but the single question of why was all this happening was never reasonably explained and that kept this movie from being better than decent.
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