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*** Official "PHONE BOOTH" Review Thread (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Mar 4, 2001
I just got back from seeing this film, and I have to say its the best 2003 film I've seen this year! Kiefer Sutherland is simply excellent and comes off as a very intelligent menace, and Colin Farrell is great as well, and he hits all of his emotions perfectly! Both of them had me cracking up constantly with some of their lines too, and their delivery was always spot on. Then of course there is Radha Mitchell, who does wonderful as the wife as expected, and she is also one of the hottest women on the planet if you ask me.

The film is never the least bit boring, and is mostly dialogue driven, but the dialogue is all just spectacular. Larry Cohen did an outstanding job with the writing! The film is intense, funny, emotional, and suspensful all in one big perfect bundle! I also loved how the ending turned out.

I totally loved this film, and I'll most definitely be going to see this again very soon! I give it a solid :star: :star: :star: :star:1/2, and recommend it very highly! This is simply an amazingly fantastic film, and it'll be a crime if it doesn't rake in a good amount of cash! :emoji_thumbsup: :emoji_thumbsup: :emoji_thumbsup:

Robert Crawford

Senior HTF Member
Dec 9, 1998
Real Name
This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "Phone Booth". Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.


Dennis Pagoulatos

Supporting Actor
Feb 3, 1999
Real Name
Saw this dung pile yesterday. I was expecting a taut suspense thriller, what I got was essentially an 80 minute trailer extension. What you see of Colin Farrell's character in the intriguing trailer for "Phone Booth" is unfortunately, all there is to him. He's about as thin and two dimensional as you can get. If you've heard the menacing Kiefer Sutherland narration from the same trailer, you've pretty much heard all there is to hear; nothing new is added in the "film". The premise for the events that take place is preposterous, at best. And the script, while funny at times, never manages to generate any sympathy for our star character. Because it's so thinly written, it's hard to care about anything that happens, including the half hearted "twist" at the end. Add to that extremely unconvincing L.A. (I believe) locations doubling as NYC, and the end result is a thriller that lacks any kind of thrills. Mercifully, at least it's a short movie, coming in at under 85 minutes, according to my watch.

I had high hopes for this one, but apart from some moments of humor, and overall decent acting (I forgive Farrell's intermittently unconvincing accent), the movie as a whole pretty much stinks; it's a one note opera.

:star: :star: out of :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:


Seth Paxton

Senior HTF Member
Nov 5, 1998
Phone Booth
7.5 of 10

The film most reminded me of Changing Lanes. Not in specific plot, but in the fact that what could be just a cliched thriller/action film is instead presented as a more satisfying character study. On a first viewing I found no serious logical flaws, either in behavior or function, which is key to a film like this playing well.

The acting is also well done, but then this is Colin Ferrell and most people are now familiar with his ability to elevate films with his effort. Whitaker brings his strong game too which is not surprising since he is so reliable, if not always stellar. Sutherland is pretty solid in a more limited role (voice only).

Like Tigerland, Schumacher MIGHT be benefitting from his cinematographer's decisions (Matthew Libatique), but it doesn't lessen the effect of some interesting choices. One of those good choices is the use of picture in picture frames depicting the other end of Ferrell's phone calls, except for Sutherland's calls, which serves to heighten the idea that this is an unknown and menacing caller. In ways like this the film is very well directed.

That sounds like an awful lot of praise for a film I gave only a 7.5 to, doesn't it. Well that is because the one true flaw of the film is that the premise of Ferrell's character leaves very little depth to explore. This is not to say that Ferrell doesn't play him in full 3D, just that the faults that have him in this situation just aren't complicated enough to really blow away an audience. There simply aren't enough critical points to reach in the film for it to be a truly intense experience. Instead it plays more like "I have a problem. I'm sorry. Okay, everything will be better now."

The 80 minute runtime is a direct result of this. Phone Booth is a good hour episode of the Twilight Zone turned into a theatrical release. It just doesn't have the expanded content to warrant that extra time. Rewrite it and give me another 20 minutes of plot depth and I think you would have a damn fine feature. As it stands now this is probably better thought of as a good 60 minute film stretched to 80 minutes.


Dec 19, 2002
Saw it today...and wow! Very tense...brilliant acting...big props to Schumacher for not making it seem dull cause it mostly takes place on a single street...and man Kiefer's got a hell of a sinister voice...Loved it!


Alex Spindler

Senior HTF Member
Jan 23, 2000
Phone Booth - what can I say? A high-concept film with a very narrow scope and limited goals.

I can't help but feel that this is a missed opportunity, largely let down by having no real plot. I was hoping that the "point" of the ordeal would be something to justify the situation, but the reasoning provided by the Sniper was so inconsequential that I couldn't help but consider him some sort of misguided sadist.

The film revolves around Stu, an aspiring publicist who manipulates people to appear to be more capable or accomplished than he really is. He is making preparations to cheat on his wife, but hasn't gone through with it. That is all there is to him. They don't really try to explore much more with him (although it comes out that he grew up in the Bronx), so there is very little to learn as the movie moves on. That the sniper equates Stu with a pedophile and a corrupt insider trader is laughable. Stu is presented as someone who is on his way up and doing so with his own talent for manipulation of people. Perhaps my morality is a bit different than others, but I would never have lumped him in with the others. Couldn't the sniper have found a handy politician to satisfy his need to illustrate his contempt for liars?

As expected, nearly the entire running time of the film is shown from the perspective of one of the last phone booths in New York. The film uses a number of picture in picture perspectives to show other people involved in the conflict as well as focusing on a police detective who arrives at the scene after an altercation between some hookers (the best sequence by far in the movie) leaves a man dead. It also uses a few digital camera shots to illustrate Stu's panicked views of the windows on the surrounding buildings. Schumacher keeps the phone booth from being too boring as new portions of it are highlighted as time goes on. He save the bottom of the booth for a pivotal point in the film and it feels fresh at that point.

The stars of the film do a fine job with what they have. Colin Farrell shows some desperation pretty well, although I think he dropped out of his New York accept a few times. But he carried the weight of the film very well, even though his redemptive speech was too staged for me. The sniper is voiced menacingly enough, although he doesn't have anything really to say. Forrest Whitaker is a good enough stand-in, but anyone could have done it. Both Katie Holmes and Rhada Mitchell are wasted.

I had the luck of seeing Liberty Stands Still, a smaller film with a similar concept. It starred Linda Fiorentino and Wesley Snipes in the exact same roles. Beyond the differences in casting and location, they are fundamentally the same movie. The difference being that LSS has substantially more plot than Phone Booth, which is what I consider PB's biggest flaw. There is literally no reason for the movie to justify its existence other than as the challenge of keeping a film focused on a small area. There are no revelations, no thoughtful points to ponder, and little reason to want to revisit it. The identity of the sniper is not really a secret either, so it lacks the gotcha that may have made it a fun watch.

I've read that the concept for this film has been several decades in the making. I would assume that they couldn't come up with a reason for putting someone in this situation and chose the one they did out of desperation. I really wish they would have stayed at the script level until they had something with more meat to it.

:star: :star: 1/2 (out of four).

Tim Glover

Senior HTF Member
Jan 12, 1999
Monroe, LA
Real Name
Tim Glover
Checked out of work today a bit early to catch the 5:30pm feature. And, well, I loved it. Gripping from beginning to end.

This is the review thread so I'll save my long narrative for that thread. :b

I do think it could have benefited with a little more depth, but it was suspenseful and intense and yeah, I bought in to it.

So far the best film of the very, very early 2003 film year.

:star: :star: :star: :star:


Mar 31, 1999
Dublin, Ireland.
Real Name
Great concept with should by it's nature have been racked with tension, but unfortunetely it's not. I don't know what was up with the sound mix but Kiefer Sutherland's voice really sounded like it was posted on afterwards (which it was!)


The pizza-guy gave a bit away very early by glancing obviously up when walking away from the booth. Kiefer's explanation for becoming a sniper where pretty weak and was explained away far too early leaving no mystery. Plus what was with that strolling through all those cops in a trench coat and sunglasses carrying a rifle-shaped case?? Come on!!

Hollywood wastes another good idea.

Patrick Sun

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1999
This film creates a restless mood, for which I wasn't at all too excited about, so I'm not too positive of the film that's probably 20 minutes too long because the main thrust of the story has very little meat on its bones, and left me wanting less, not more of the main and back story.

I give it 2 stars, or a grade of C.

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