Phone Booth (2002)

Mystery, Thriller
Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell
Stuart Shepard finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist's sniper rifle.
Quick pacing and Farrell's performance help make Phone Booth a tense nail-biter.
  • 20th Century Fox Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 04 Apr 2003 Released:
  • 08 Jul 2003 DVD Release:
  • $46.5M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Entertaining and full of suspense!8/10
This is the kind of movie that is rare these days. It didn't cost an arm and a leg to make, it stars some good actors and the story line was plausible.

The Hitchcock influence is obvious and the pacing of the film was just right. This is the best work of director Schumacher. The lead could have been played by any yuppie looking actor but Colin Farrell does a good job anyway in a role that puts you in his character's place.

It's hard to make a movie work when it takes place in a confined space with few characters, but when those movies succeed, it shows. And that's how it is with "Phone Booth."
One Way To Get Your Message Across!8/10
I only looked at this because a friend loaned it to me so, at zero cost, what could I lose? Well, it was a lot better than I anticipated. Oddly, even though it's only 80 minutes long, I think this could have been better with about 10 minutes chopped off. It starts to repeat itself too much near the end. You have to remember, almost the whole film takes place within a phone booth!

Colin Farrell does a super job playing a sleazy guy held captive in the phone booth by a threatening sniper-caller. The story, although simple, holds your attention because there is great suspense, innovative camera-work, an involving story that hooks you in pretty fast and some great sound. I hope you have a surround sound system because the caller's (Keifer Sutherland) voice on the other end of the line is something to hear!

There is a big moral message in this film, too, about doing the right thing and paying for your sins, which Farrell sure did. It was really refreshing to hear that message, effectively told. Maybe some of us need a sniper to get the message across, but I hope not!

Are there holes in this story? Sure, but it's still good and has a cool ending. The only warning I would give readers here is the language: this is a very profane film with Farrell going overboard on the f-word. If that offends you, then stay out of this phone booth; otherwise, it's pretty entertaining
Taught, Original, Daring, very entertaining10/10

I saw the premiere of "Phone Booth" at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival, and I LOVED IT! It's unusual for a feature like this to even show at the TIFF, which should say something about it. I know it sounds like a hard sell. The whole thing takes place outside a phone booth in Manhattan, and it was shot in 10 days for less than 2 million dollars. But this movie is electric. It BLEW ME AWAY! Stuart `Stu' Shepard (Colin Farrell), a sleazy publicist, uses this phone booth to call his girlfriend, because his wife checks his cell phone bills. The phone rings, and when he picks it up, all hell breaks loose. The voice on the other end (Kiefer Sutherland is just terrifying) warns him that if he leaves the booth he will be killed. At first Stu doesn't believe him, but we find out pretty quick that his life is in real danger, and the stranger on the other end of the line knows EVERYTHING about Stu and his life. Then the police show up, (Forest Whitaker is wonderful as always as the cop in charge) and order Stu out of the booth. I spent the next hour on the edge of my seat. I don't want to give anything more away, but it is one of the most suspenseful movies I've seen in a very long time! You should go see this movie! I don't think it's going to get a very big release, even though it's directed by Joel Schumacher (St. Elmo's Fire, Flatliners, Batman and Robin, 8mm, Tigerland). Schumacher was at the screening, and he talked about how a number of different actors (including Mel Gibson) and directors had been attached to the script, and it had taken years to get it to the screen. He was able to do it with Colin Farrell after 20th Century Fox exec's saw him in `Tigerland' and decided to take a chance. But he's still not considered a `big' star. And Kiefer only came to the project at the end (though Schumacher said he was the only guy for the role, and I agree), and you don't see him much. So the movie may not get much of a push when it comes out. Don't let that dissuade you. If you like a good ride, you should go see this movie.
One ringy dingy.8/10

Anyone who doubts that people are as easily programmable as Pavlov's pets need look no further Graham Bell's little box. While most of us generally don't start salivating at the sound of a ringing phone, few people (unless they work for a software help desk) can resist the urge to answer one. Pray that the darkest force that dials your number is a telemarketer.


For Stu Shephard, sincerity is little more than a fuzzy concept. A shady publicist, his life consists of spinning interconnecting webs of lies to further the careers of clients and raise his stature. In his spare time he enjoys abusing his assistant, and ignoring his wife. Stu is, is also determined to give an impressionable young actress a test run on the casting couch. When he enters the one functioning pay phone in a ten-block radius in the hopes of setting up a liaison, the phone rings. It turns out to be Stu's conscience on the line. With a sniper rifle aimed at Stu's head.

When you take into account that `Phone Booth' was filmed in just ten days, on a limited budget with a dearth of special effects, one principle actor and a single venue you could be forgiven for questioning the potential success of this film. The original November 2001 release date might give one pause - films that sit on the shelf usually do so for a reason - read `straight to video'. In this instance the studio wanted to wait until Farrell was more familiar to moviegoers. He achieved this with a little film called `Minority Report' (the name of his co-star escapes me at the moment...). `Phone Booth's' new release date had to be pushed back once again after the sniping episodes in Washington. Some things are worth the wait.

While he stole the spotlight as the maniacal hit man in `Daredevil', Farrell is faced with a different animal in `Phone Booth', an 80-minute soliloquy which lives or dies on his performance (several A-list stars walked away from the project for this very reason). Reminiscent of his much-lauded turn in `Tigerland', Farrell confirms that he isn't a one trick pony, proffering a wide-ranging display of emotions, from cocky to cathartic without straying into soap opera or comic territory. He delivers his lines with a solid fluidity rare among his peers, no simple feat when one takes into account that he's suppressing a harsh brogue. Farrell also demonstrates a presence, beyond mere charisma - his good looks can only inspire interest for so long - that draw the viewer into the story.

While the supporting cast - Katie Holmes as the naive ingenue and Forrest Whitaker as the good cop - fulfill their purpose, it is Keifer Sutherland who takes up what little slack there is. While the audience doesn't get to see Sutherland, he is amply menacing as the cold, otherworldly voice on the other end of the phone. The audience is never privy to who he is (`Just call me Bob') or what his motives are, but it is inconsequential - he sees all, knows all, and is clearly in charge. Unlike S&M, there are no safe words. And for a control freak like Stu nothing could be more terrifying.

Although tied to a static location, deft camera work provides action, perspective and mood with such techniques as quick pans, compressed zooming, and picture in picture sequences, while careful not to cross the gimmickry line . Enhanced sound editing bolsters the visuals: ringing phones are jarring, Bob's quietly booming voice is unsettling, and the sound of a round being chambered is deafening.

`Phone Booth' could easily have been a quirky novelty flick that played well amongst the art house set. Thanks to Farrell's performance it makes for good mainstream cinema (normally an oxymoron) and may actually make a few top ten lists.
Gosh! And 10 days was all it took to be filmed!!9/10
Colin Farrell is a self-professed star publicist with an attitude to boot. Watch 81 minutes of gut-wrenching nerve-wracking dialog reduce a pretentious "kiss my ass" punk into an enervated and regretful reprobate. Farrell is simply awesome in portraying the gravity of the situation. "The Caller"'s voice is absolutely worth a mention. Calm, creepy and authoritative! Something different and the movie would have fallen flat on its 'flab less' anterior. Sutherland plays 'The Caller', manning a high profile sniper rifle, while he thrusts honesty upon Stu Shephard (Colin Farrell). Frankly, I couldn't keep my eyes off the screen for a second.

Ebert himself was marvelled by the creativity of "Phone Booth". Why! It wasn't without good reason! A gaudy character stuck inside a phone booth in a busy locale, some good camera work, bunch of apartment windows, a psycho sniper and 10 days of excellent filming supported by a 'worth a mention' cast easily will manage to get into a good bundle of "top ten" lists. Fabulous entertainment and a good display of creativity. Graham Bell is still aiding marvels, I guess!