Film pushes the realm of reality

If the prospect of watching an entire movie about a guy trapped in a phone booth sounds tedious, it is.

“Phone Booth,” starring Colin Farrell, follows the events surrounding a sleazy, lying public relations specialist that is trapped in a phone booth by a sniper.

Although the film is labeled a thriller, the thrilling moments are few and far between. The difficulty comes in placing the blame on a flaccid, undeveloped script or the cast that clearly lacks onscreen chemistry.

Katie Holmes as a naïve Montana actress, Forest Whitaker as a divorced police captain with emotional issues, Radha Mitchell as the unaware wife and Kiefer Sutherland as an unstable sniper, often can not pull it together as an ensemble cast or individually.

The movie’s first dilemma comes when Farrell speaks. He sounds like an Irishman, which he is, attempting to sound like a New Yorker. After this major faux pas, the focus on his character, Stuart Shephard, and his busy New York life lull the viewer into a sense of intensity.

The movie kicks into high gear when the police arrive to negotiate the surrender of Shepard after three prostitutes accuse him of shooting their pimp from the booth.

Once the prostitute/pimp scenario is introduced, it is obvious that the film has nowhere to go but up; however, the script and acting truly begin their struggle.

Throughout the film, the viewer is searching for the reasoning why someone would hold Shephard hostage in a phone booth. As the viewers work through elaborate scenarios in their minds to justify the situation, the film manages to mention and subsequently disprove multiple theories.

Through the course of the film the sniper gives false reasoning such as being a disturbed Vietnam veteran, living an unhappy childhood and being a Bible-crazed killer. The reality is that none of these reasons are remotely amusing, and the movie is taking an already improbable scenario and pushing it further outside the realm of reality.

Ultimately, a premise that left much room for creativity and innovative thinking is turned into a claustrophobic, unfulfilling film about a character whose life or death situation in the end still means nothing profound to the viewer.

Jason Hutchins can be reached at