Monday, 14 March 2011

Phone Booth (2002)

Mint - 4/5
So I saw this film on Channel 5 last night called 'Phone Booth'. I've seen this film many a time and, despite it literally being set in one single location, I never find myself getting bored of it. Colin Farrelll's performance is exceedingly arrogant and shovenistic towards the beginning but becomes hugel emotional as the film progresses, showing the diversity that Farrell can bring to any film. It's astonishing that Joel Schumacher managed to bring us such a captivating movie when the events unfolded in one single setting. In this way the film was a breath of fresh air to the 'hostage' genre of film. With previous films in this sub-type such as 'The Negotiator' and 'Speed' we feel a great tension building during the hostage scenes but when it breaks away to show some fairly pointless footage of the hostage taker or the police doing their work you lose the sense of empathy to those who have bee taken prisoner. By sticking solely to Farrell's character in this film, Schumacher enabled us to empathise during every second. This made Farrell's tearful scenes that much more emotional. I think the single location however was the reason for the short length on this film (81 minutes), which meant we were not beginning to be bored by the end.

What a good call the casting of Forest Whitaker was as Captain Ed Ramey. I seem to recall that, when I first watched this film, it was the first major role I had seen him in. I'd noticed his fleeting appearance in 'Platoon' but to me, 'Phone Booth' was the film that catapulted his career to where it is today. He was so genuine in the role. Now I'd be the first to admit that I'm a huge fan of Denzel Washington, but there was something about the role that actors such as this couldn't have pulled of. Whitaker was by far the right man for the job. This film was the film that tranformed me into a Forest Whitaker fan, simple as that.

I've never had a conversation in which somebody has said they dislike this film. It appeals to everyone and it is a British television favourite because it's a film that people can just sit and watch. They may not plan to watch it but when they see it on the TV guide it just leaps off the page.
Would I recommend it? Why haven't you seen it already?


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