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Phone Booth

"No options. No lies. No fear. No deals. Just keep talking."

R 2003-04-04 Thriller 1hr 21m

A slick New York publicist who picks up a ringing receiver in a phone booth is told that if he hangs up, he'll be killed... and the little red light from a laser rifle sight is proof that the caller isn't kidding.

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Storyline

A slick New York publicist who picks up a ringing receiver in a phone booth is told that if he hangs up, he'll be killed... and the little red light from a laser rifle sight is proof that the caller isn't kidding.

  • Released
    2003-04-04
  • Revenue
    $97,837,138
  • Budget
    $13,000,000
  • Runtime
    1hr 21m
  • Genre
    Thriller, Crime
  • Status
    Released
  • Language
    English, Kiswahili
  • imdb-logo
    7.1
  • Production
    Fox 2000 Pictures, Zucker/Netter Productions

Crew

Joel Schumacher
Director
Larry Cohen
Screenplay
David Zucker
Producer

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Movie Reviews

Reviews for Phone Booth
reviewer avatar

A Review by themoviediorama 6

Written by themoviediorama on 2020-01-16

Phone Booth dials up its millennial tension through suspenseful confined calls. Joel Schumacher is a rather inconsistent director. Unusual, ... read more

Phone Booth dials up its millennial tension through suspenseful confined calls. Joel Schumacher is a rather inconsistent director. Unusual, yet capricious. From ‘The Lost Boys’ to ‘Batman & Robin’, his career has been considerably scattershot in terms of quality. Phone Booth, whilst quintessentially being a product of its time, happens to be his most simplistic. An arrogant publicist is held hostage in a phone booth by a mysterious sniper who offers him an ultimatum. A hyperbolised exercise in absolution from an absurdist’s perspective, Schumacher delivers a nail-biting thriller from the confinement of one besmirched public booth. Unscrupulous sex shops on one side of the grubby New York street, and a religiously inclined series of posters dictating “who do you think you are?” on the other side. It may just be a lightning paced disposable techno thriller to many, but if you divulge into the finer details you’ll notice it is overwhelmed with morality. The repentance of sins. Cleansing the soul from immorality. The harsh tones of Sutherland’s antagonistic voice, likening himself to a higher (or lower...) entity, offering Farrell’s Stu a chance for redemption. A surprisingly thematic endeavour for Schumacher, whether intentional or not, the religious symbolism in its subtle visuals or literary narrative were certainly profound. It smooths out the neo-noir roughness that forces this thriller to be nothing more than disposable entertainment. Aside from Farrell’s strong performance as the arrogantly unlikeable Stu and Sutherland’s menacing tone, the supporting cast were mediocre at best. Whitaker, Mitchell and Holmes rarely had an opportunity to shine within the mucky street and had a tendency to overact. The act of forgiveness, whilst being a pivotal point to the whole ordeal, seemed incredibly vacuous without much deliberate intervention. All too easy, considering how long Stu kept his unfaithful behaviour up for. Cohen’s script was sharp and concise, occasionally stagnating in moments of desperation when not knowing how to progress the hostage situation further. Stevens’ editing was swifter than Sutherland cocking his sniper rifle multiple times. On screen graphics to display scenes running simultaneously, such as police officers tracing the encrypted phone call, keeping the pace consistently tight. Some of visuals, such as the red dot from the sniper, obviously smelt of fakery as well as the space effects showcasing the satellite sending communications to mobile phone chips etc. Y’know, common tropes from films created in the early naughties. As I said, it’s very much a film of its time. Yet despite the rough disposable nature of Phone Booth, it’s a much more entertaining call then being on hold for an hour and a half. I can tell you that from experience...

reviewer avatar

A Review by CaseyReese 6

Written by CaseyReese on 2023-02-05

Stu's an unlikable guy. He treats people poorly. He plays tit-for-tat. He lies, a lot. He's a publicist and a hustler. His life is about tak... read more

Stu's an unlikable guy. He treats people poorly. He plays tit-for-tat. He lies, a lot. He's a publicist and a hustler. His life is about taking as much money from people as he can manage, unless they're an inconvience, when he'll shove money at them to make them go away. Stu lives his life on the phone; not that he wants anyone to know it. He tells people he's in a meeting in an expensive conference room, or that he's just dined with some bigwigs, because that's who Stu is. He's full of it, and no one that he talks to will ever know the difference. Because no one can see him when he's on the phone. Or, so he thinks. It turns out that there are a few people who know even more about phones than Stu. Some people know, for instance, that calls can be rerouted, lines can be encrypted, and phones can be located and tapped. There are even a few people who like to do those things, and one of them calls Stu at the phone booth he uses when he doesn't want his calls logged. There are, of course, worse people than Stu in this town. And Stu knows it. He knows that he's better than the pimps and hookers and grifters that live on the block with his favorite phone booth because, hey, he dresses better than them. But Stu can't see how the Caller dresses, because the Caller is on the phone too. This puts Stu at the same disadvantage he uses against everyone else. And fancy duds or not, the Caller proves to be even smoother than Stu. He's also a lot more disturbed. He knows exactly what Stu's been up to, and he's about to punish him for it. He's going to trap Stu on the phone he's lived his live through, and he's going to heckle, coerce, and torment him. The Caller thinks it's all for a good cause, but you won't. _Phone Booth_ is a tense, claustrophobic, and chilling film. The script is tight. The setting is limited to a phone booth and the few yards surrounding it. Nothing is in this film that doesn't need to be there. And even if you'd rather not meet most of them, the characters are believable, and the actors handle their roles well. The Caller is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland in a remarkably expressive, menacing, and ironic manner. Forest Whitaker nicely portrays the police negotiator, who's calm, likable, and much smarter than his colleagues think. And although Stu may be a callous jackass, Colin Farrell allows us to sympathize with him, and he manages to move easily from an oblivious narcissist to a frightened, cornered man – who learns that he's almost as concerned about the people surrounding the phone booth as the one trapped inside it – without breaking character.

Read Full Review (The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewer.)
A Review by The Movie Diorama

Phone Booth dials up its millennial tension through suspenseful confined calls. Joel Schumacher is a rather inconsistent director. Unusual, yet capricious. From ‘The Lost Boys’ to ‘Batman & Robin’, his career has been considerably scattersh...

reviewer avatar

A Review by themoviediorama 6

Written by themoviediorama on 2020-01-16

Phone Booth dials up its millennial tension through suspenseful confined calls. Joel Schumacher is a rather inconsistent director. Unusual, yet capricious. From ‘The Lost Boys’ to ‘Batman & Robin’, hi...

read more
reviewer avatar

A Review by CaseyReese 6

Written by CaseyReese on 2023-02-05

Stu's an unlikable guy. He treats people poorly. He plays tit-for-tat. He lies, a lot. He's a publicist and a hustler. His life is about taking as much money from people as he can manage, unless they'...

read more