Phone Booth

Colin Farrell, Forest Whitaker, Katie Holmes, Radha Mitchell, Kiefer Sutherland

Directed by Joel Schumacher
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
April 4, 2003

Ok, the movie is a trick, a setup. A Manhattan publicist, Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell), is trapped in a phone booth by a sniper. What's next? Says screenwriter Larry Cohen: You bring his wife (Radha Mitchell) and girlfriend (Katie Holmes) to the scene, have a murder and add the police (Forest Whitaker). The trick comes in pinning us to our seats for eighty-two minutes so that we don't consider the holes in the plot until later.

Director Joel Schumacher, with the help of the gifted cinematographer Matthew Libatique (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), makes a tight, tense job of it. And casting Farrell, his Tigerland star, was inspired. Farrell is a dynamo. And Kiefer Sutherland, whose sniper role is essentially a voice on the phone, matches Farrell subtle shift for subtle shift. Phone Booth, a New York story shot mostly in L.A., doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but no way will it put you to sleep.

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    Song Stories

    “Bird on a Wire”

    Leonard Cohen | 1969

    While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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