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Phone Booth (2002)

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Publicist Stuart Shepard finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist's sniper rifle. Unable to leave or get help from the surrounding bystanders, Stuart negotiates with the caller that leads to a jaw-dropping climax.

Director:

Joel Schumacher

Writer:

Larry Cohen
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3,527 ( 882)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Colin Farrell ... Stu Shepard
Kiefer Sutherland ... The Caller
Forest Whitaker ... Captain Ramey
Radha Mitchell ... Kelly Shepard
Katie Holmes ... Pamela McFadden
Paula Jai Parker ... Felicia
Arian Ash ... Corky
Tia Texada ... Asia
John Enos III ... Leon
Richard T. Jones ... Sergeant Cole
Keith Nobbs ... Adam
Dell Yount ... Pizza Guy
James MacDonald ... Negotiator (as James Macdonald)
Josh Pais ... Mario
Yorgo Constantine ... ESU Commander
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Storyline

Stu Shepard is a fast talking and wise cracking New York City publicist who gets out of trouble and lies with his clever charm, connections, and charisma. Stu's greatest lie is to his wife Kelly, who he is cheating on with his girlfriend, Pam. Upon answering a call in a phone booth in belief it is Pam, Stu is on the line with a dangerous yet intelligent psychopath with a sniper rifle. When realizing it is not a joke, Stu is placed in a powerful mind game of wits and corruption. The New York City Police eventually arrive thereafter and demand Stu comes out of the phone booth- but how can he when if he hangs up or leaves the booth he will die? Written by commanderblue

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hang Up And You Die See more »

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Swahili

Release Date:

4 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Enlace mortal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,021,088, 6 April 2003, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$46,566,212, 31 July 2003

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$97,837,138
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film marked the third collaboration between Kiefer Sutherland and Forest Whitaker. They both previously collaborated in Article 99 (1992) and Sutherland's directorial debut, Last Light (1993). See more »

Goofs

Although the film is set in New York, it was filmed in LA. When we see news reporters arriving, there is a shot of a female reporter in the bottom left of the screen. An LA public transport bus can be seen passing by in the background. See more »

Quotes

The Caller: Stand up and be a man!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The 20th Century Fox logo blends into the white clouds that open the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

The FX Network airs this movie with Jared Leto's deleted scene reinserted to bring up the film's running time to fit a two-hour block. See more »


Soundtracks

Six Days
(Remix featuring Yasiin Bey)
Written by DJ Shadow (as Josh Davis) and Brian Farrell
Performed by DJ Shadow
Courtesy of Universal-Island Records Ltd.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
(Contains a sample of "Six Day War"
Performed by Colonel Bagshot with vocals featuring Kenneth Perry
Courtesy of Splash Records Ltd.)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
One ringy dingy.
5 April 2003 | by Shiva-11See all my reviews

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.


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