You know a movie has it’s problems when the best, and most believable, character is only on screen for a mere 20 seconds at the very end. Not to say that any of the characters in Phone Booth are believable adaptations of a real life person, but the Caller (Kiefer Sutherland) is by far the best representation in the entire movie, and many patrons might miss that. Also a notable performance comes from Forest Whitaker’s portrayal of Capt. Ramey.

Phone Booth, itself, is teetering on the side of a short, mediocre film, and a tense, stressful flick that has you anticipating what happens next. I would love to tell you what happens next, but what happened in my brain during the movie, wasn’t the same that was projected on the screen in front of me. The balancing act comes from a movie that gives you everything, and nothing at the same time. You are shown the inner workings of a troubled P.R. associate, but did you really want to know him in the first place?

Phone Booth suffers from not having any characters you want to connect with, even if you were given the chance. Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell) is suppose to be the “good” guy in this movie, but you just assume let the Caller pick him off after hearing him talk for ten seconds. He is the personification of everything you hate in a person. A lying, cheating, cell phone talking, obnoxious fool whom you just assume hit with your Volvo, than have to watch on film for 81 minutes.

As you might have guessed, Phone Booth places Stu in one of the remaining free standing phone booths in New York City and traps him inside when a sniper sets his sights on Stu because of his boisterous activities of invisible infidelity and lack of honesty to his wife (Rahda Mitchell), and his would-be-mistress (Katie Holmes). After picking up the phone, he is unable to hang up, or he will be shot. The highlight of the movie comes when a group of self-proclaimed “escorts” try to pry Stu out of the phone booth so they can “return a call.” This added bit of comedy is a refreshing blast in the beginning of the movie that trails off into mellow-drama towards the end.

The part if found most annoying was the cinematography which appears to have been done by a raccoon with a camera. Director Joel Schumacher (Bad Company) may seem as though he has lifted the split screen technique from FOX TV show “24,” but careful analysis proves that the flick was filmed almost a year before that show debuted, yet, moviegoers who see it now will scream “rip-off” as I did before checking the filming dates. When the the screen isn’t being split into fragments, or being superimposed with other images, you are treated to some of the most jerky camera movements known to man, almost as bad as the miniDV work in Narc that left me reaching for a bucket to wharf in.

Still even with its problems, Phone Booth does come out as an enjoyable, albeit short, film that does have it’s share of tense moments. As previously stated, Kiefer Sutherlands deadpan, dry voice is the highlight of the movie, even though you don’t get to see him for a majority of the film. While Phone Booth may bring Joel Schumacher’s credibility back up a notch, the rest of the cast stands to gain, nor lose, anything by participating in this film.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!