At 84 minutes, the premise of Phone Booth just reaches the stress breaking point at its climax. In other words, you can suspend disbelief only so long, and about 75 minutes is it for this one. Still, it¡¯s a tense, taut thriller while it lasts.
Colin Farrell plays Stu Shepard, a fast-talking, fast-pulling publicist who wants everyone who¡¯s anyone to think he's on top of the world. Wearing Italian suits and a knock-off designer watch, he struts down the sidewalks of Manhattan (somewhat reminiscent of the Saturday Night Fever scene), talking on two cell phones and a payphone. The payphone is to call his sweetie-on-the-side so that a record of her number doesn¡¯t show up on his cell bill and alert his wife to his deception.
Stu¡¯s daily routine, unbeknownst to him, has caught the attention of a psychotic sniper with a God complex. The sniper calls Stu in the phone booth, and tells him that he is "guilty of inhumanity to your fellow man" and the "sin of spin." Parties guilty of such grievances may not leave the phone booth, under any circumstances.
The mental game of cat-and-mouse unfolds amidst the murder of a pimp who wants to use the phone, the showdown with police (Forest Whitaker as the captain is excellent), and the showing-up of both the women in Stu¡¯s life (Katie Holmes and Radha Mitchell).
Aptly directed by Joel Schumacher, Phone Booth feels more like a Brian-De Palma-in-his-heyday type movie (think: Body Double in a cubicle). What¡¯s more, De Palma probably would have done a better job of spackling the many, many plot holes.
While the edgy picture-in-picture technique works well and does help to break the monotony, it doesn¡¯t distract from the very-recognizable voice of the antagonist purring menacingly through the...