PCR past banners
Now in our fourth calendar year!
PCR # 159  (Vol. 4, No. 15)  This edition is for the week of April 6--13, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Phone Booth"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Three stars!

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

PCR Home
La Floridiana
Plastic People
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant
Linda Harrison
Archives 2003
Crazed Fanboy

20th Century Fox     
Starring: Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker and Kiefer Sutherland
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Screenplay by: Larry Cohen
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 26 mins

Delayed from last November due to the Washington D.C. snipers, "Phone Booth" joins last week's "Basic" as one of the finest thrillers released this year.

Farrell is Stu, a self-important publicist who will lie, cheat AND steal to get even one line of recognition for his clients in the big New York tabloids. However, no matter how busy he is, he finds time each day to visit a particular phone booth. It's a ritual that he follows to the letter. Same time, same booth. Same gesture of removing his wedding ring before he calls. See, Stu is calling a young actress he is trying to help and, though he hasn't acted on them yet, he is having some very naughty thoughts about her.

One day after his call, the phone rings. By habit, he picks it up. He's surprised that the voice on the other side of the line knows his name. He is even more surprised when the voice tells him that if he leaves the phone booth, he's a dead man.

What happens over the next hour or so is a game of wits and nerve. The caller, who informs Stu he has recently killed a pornographer and an Enron-type executive, now tells Stu that he is next on his list because of the low regard he has for his fellow humans. He tells Stu that he has him in the sights of a high powered rifle and to prove it he shoots a man that Stu has had an altercation with. Of course, all of the onlookers (don't forget, it's New York City. The streets are always packed) assume that Stu has done the shooting and they tell the police as much when they arrive. Unable to tell the police what happened under threat of death, the game of wits and nerve now includes police captain Raimy, played by the always interesting Whitaker, who, when Stu lies and says he's speaking to his psychiatrist, begins to share his thoughts and feelings as to why his former wife left him.

Director Schumacher, who single-handedly killed the "Batman" franchise, has reigned in a lot of his outrageousness and has returned to his earlier work (Lost Boys, Falling Down, 8mm) to create a very taut thriller. Farrell, who despite his claims otherwise is slowly becoming a movie star, turns in another great performance to go along with this year's earlier release "The Recruit." And Whitaker, who has found a place behind the camera as a director, is always a welcome addition to any film he pops up in. However, it is the never-seen Kiefer Sutherland that delivers the film's best performance. As the voice on the line, he is both menacing and, when the situation requires, charming. He is always one step ahead of the police, and Stu, and he portrays that advantage in his delivery.

A fine thriller that definitely keeps your attention, on a scale of zero to four stars I give "Phone Booth"  

This week's movie review of "Phone Booth" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.   All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.