Film reviews

Phone Booth, Dir: Joel Schumacher - Cert: 15

"You hear a ringing phone and it could be anybody, but a ringing phone has to be answered doesn't it, doesn't it?"

The central character here, Stu Sheppard (Colin Farrell) has this line fed to him in a captivating script that not only has the audience examining fear, but also how they feel about the morals that Sheppard has obviously flaunted. His relationship with this caller (Kiefer Sutherland) is all the more claustrophobic in the way the callers voice cuts out all that is around the booth.

The entire film comes from just this one phone call, made to what we are told is to be the last public phone booth situated on a New York High Street. The final toll of this method of public communication is sounded by the increasing number of those using their own private portable lines and told well in the chaotic way the director portrays this on screen. A political statement made by the writer (Larry Cohen), maybe, but one we can certainly all relate to, whichever side of the fence we sit on.

Our contempt for the central character is heightened, as his rushed method of working as a back biting publicist is told with little compassion, but as the film turns its focus on his plight this soon becomes reversed as we are gripped by this dialogue driven screen-play.

Much has been said of Schumacher's involvement here to the negative, was it his prior work in movies such as 'Flatliners' or 'Lost Boys', or that of INXS's 'Devil Inside' video? Well in my eyes this is a very harsh criticism and maybe I should raise my hands here and confess to being hooked on much of the American TV dramas that this would appear to take directions from. Certainly the use of 'split screen', a'la '24' and the New York Cop's with the bronx accents (NYPD Blue). But there was a moment that made me laugh out loud, lifting the air of desperation enough to continue watching, captivated to the end and what an end, if not a little obvious.

I've been very lucky of late to view some stunning movies, born out of suitably stunning scripts, this is no exception, go and catch this film, whatever else you may've heard. 9/10


Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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