Directed by Joel Schumacher. Starring Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Kiefer Sutherland, Katie Holmes, Radha Mitchell and Richard T Jones.
'Tigerland' director Joel Schumacher reunites with Hollywood badboy of the moment Colin Farrell for this simple, but effective, sniper thriller.
Farrell is Stu Shepherd, a two-bit New York publicist with more charm than contacts and more attitude than assets. Which is presumably why he conducts most of his business on the street, juggling two mobile phones with his rookie, yet-to-be-paid assistant.
So when Stu needs some privacy where does he go? His favourite phone booth, which incidentally is the last of its type. And even more incidentally is due to be removed and replaced tomorrow… Are you thinking what I'm thinking? With a flimsy plot, some gaping narrative holes, an opening montage that feels like pure padding, and a final twist so predictable it is hardly deserving of the term, this shouldn't work, but it does. Why? Farrell, and some slick visual style.
Stu has just finished a call to his 'bit on the side' (Holmes) when the phone rings. Answering it begins an unexpected afternoon's ordeal, with a crazed sniper threatening to shoot if Stu doesn't obey his every command. Is it a failed actor, someone he shafted, someone's whose wife/girlfriend he has slept with? You'll have to watch to find out, but suffice to say - Stu is being asked to atone for his 'sins'.
Forest Whitaker is excellent as the under pressure Police Captain trying to deal with the on-street situation, but this is Farrell's movie all the way. He runs the gamut of emotions flawlessly, going from cool to crushed in the space of an hour.
Even the delays that dogged 'Phone Booth' - it was shelved for a while after last year's US sniper attacks - have been to the film's advantage. When Farrell quips to a police officer, "Tell Britney I sent my love!" it's a lot funnier now that he's done the whole 'we’re just friends' bit in real life with the tabloids.
Split screens and inserts up the pace and tension as multiple cameras go from fish eye to CC TV-style focus on Farrell in the booth. The feeling of claustrophobia mounts and your mind will never wander once Farrell and Kiefer Sutherland (the man on the phone) get going.
If you like your thrillers short, sharp and stylish this one's for you. Shot in just 12 days, its running time of 81 minutes could leave a slight feeling of dissatisfaction, like going home after eating half a meal. You may end up craving second helpings, but that's no bad thing.