Owen Gleiberman
April 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Phone Booth

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
80 minutes
Wide Release Date
04/04/03
performer
Colin Farrell, Katie Holmes, Radha Mitchell, Paula Jai Parker, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker
director
Joel Schumacher
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Larry Cohen
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B-

An energetic stunt of a movie that wants to make you sweat like it’s 1974. Stu (Colin Farrell), a hyperkinetic media publicist, steps into an old-fashioned Bell Atlantic phone booth in midtown Manhattan. The phone rings and the voice at the other end engages him in a dialogue that culminates with a simple, taunting threat: ”If you hang up, I will kill you.” For the rest of the film, Farrell stands in that booth, sweating and yapping, his cockiness warring with fear and finally giving way to it. Phone Booth fancies itself a kind of Dog Day Afternoon in miniature, but the caller is just a device, a petty hero’s petty conscience paying a Twilight Zone visit. Besides, who in the ’70s would have asked an audience to gaze with shock and awe upon the hollow sins of a publicist?

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