Phone Booth

Phone Booth (2002) movie poster

(2002) dir. Joel Schumacher
viewed: 07/10/03

Produced from a screenplay by weird/cool indie filmmaker Larry Cohen, Phone Booth is a low-budget idea produced in big-budget, pseudo-“guerilla filmmaking” style by Joel Schumacher, one of my least liked mainstream directors, whose other bad films include Batman & Robin (1997) (the film that killed the Batman franchise) and 8MM (1999). Maybe if Cohen had directed this one himself on a genuine shoestring budget, it could have been pretty good. Sometimes the corny, obvious plot twists seem more palatable when you know that the film was really produced on the fly.

Worst shot is the opening shot, a cgi shot of a satellite beaming back to Earth a cell phone signal. The camera flies down from space into the phone and through all of the technology of the connections in a busy, overdone and expensive shot that really doesn’t need to be there. I think that there was also a reasonable ammount of handheld camera work, which has become synonymous with trying to get the edgy, street feel (faux “Indie” cinema) trying to recreate the atmosphere of the busy hubbub of Manhattan.

Ultimately, and this is a generous analogy, it’s like when a good, raw band goes into a big studio and gets too much overdubbing and extraneous production on their recording, stripping away the actual energy and vibe that makes them appealing. In this case, I don’t know how “good” the source material was, but the result really didn’t impress me.

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