Phone Booth

Rated 4.0 A sleazy New York publicist (Colin Farrell) answers a ringing phone in a booth on Broadway—and finds himself talking to a stranger (an unseen Kiefer Sutherland) who knows all about him and will kill him if he hangs up the phone. Director Joel Schumacher’s film (from a tense, resourceful script by Larry Cohen) starts and ends with a flashy special-effects shot—zipping from Earth to a satellite and back—that seems to belong in a cheesy sci-fi flick. In between, though, Schumacher keeps both feet firmly on the ground, in a tight, character-driven thriller sparked by bravura acting from Farrell and great support from Radha Mitchell, Katie Holmes and Forest Whitaker. It’s far-fetched, yes, but so expert and swiftly-paced (running a bare 80 minutes) that we don’t notice the holes until it’s long over.