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Phone Booth

Your life is on the line. 

Year: 2002 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Colin Farrell stars as fast-talking Broadway agent Stuart “Stu” Shepard, in this wonderful thriller about a man trapped by a sniper whilst using the last phone booth in Manhattan to call his mistress, Pamela McFadden (Holmes) in order to avoid questioning when he has his mobile phone bill scrutinised by his wife, Kelly (Mitchell).

The action starts innocently enough, with Stu picking up the phone ringing in the booth, but what he didn’t envisage was being held hostage by the caller. First he dismisses the threats, believing it to be a prank, but reality quickly sets in when the caller starts to reveal some of Stu’s personal secrets, as well as shooting an innocent bystander. All this drama alerts the police, and soon Stu finds himself trying to keep the caller from pulling the trigger on him, whilst trying desperately to convince the police that he is the victim and not the killer.

It must have been an interesting meeting when this film was pitched to the producers, and strange as the plot sounds, it does carry some degree of believability. The scenario Stu finds himself in is not completely unimaginable in America, what with the various school shootings around the time this movie was originally to go on cinematic release, and more recently the two Washington serial snipers.  Whilst this might not make you want to see this film, the performances of Farrell and Sutherland definitely will.

Farrell is full of energy and intensity, proving that he is more than just a pretty face.  He displays a wide range of emotions through this relatively short film, much of which has the camera in close.  Kiefer Sutherland is solid as the mysterious and twisted caller, his voice dominating the film with its gravelly, twisted urgency. To make viewers sit up and listen takes presence, which Sutherland clearly demonstrates, despite being physically off screen for most of the film.

Filmed in 10 days, on a single set, Phonebooth shows that it is possible for Hollywood to make good films without throwing money at computer wizardry, instead relying on good ol’ fashined plot twists and excellent performances.

Alex Coe

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Screenings of this film:

2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)
2003/2004 Autumn Term (35mm)