"You hear a phone ring and it could be anybody, but a ringing phone has to be answered...doesnít it?"
Set in New York the opening scene shows a small time film manager Stu Sheppard appears to walk the walk and talk the talk. He is what I like to call a pretender (I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about here) - to those around him he is the cream of the crop, hanging with all the famous people in the hot spots of the bustling city, however Stu knows that he is only half as rich, famous and popular as he wants to be.
With his apprentice by his side (Keith Nobbs), his mobile permanently stuck to the side of his head and wearing what I imagine to be a fake Versace pinstripe suit, Stu struts through Times Square going about his daily business.
Enter Kiefer Sutherland (who remains anonymous in the film), an experienced criminal stalker/sniper who chooses his targets carefully with a view to teaching them valuable lessons about their shortcomings in life. It is Stuís dismissive inhumanity to fellow men that gives this crazed murderer the incentive to trap him in a public phone box using a very strong blackmail grip to ensure that Stu does exactly what is required of him.
The film reminds me of a chess game, where the attacker has his opponent in check but not quite check mate as the victim appears to have an incredible knack of wriggling away from the final jugular assault.
As the police and television crews turn up, the street is filled with onlookers who witness the proceedings. A number of unconvincing red herrings are throw into the mix to fool the viewers into thinking that they know who and where the crazed murderer is Ė they are predictable and wouldnít fool a child.
The film doesnít move along very quickly Ė the majority of scenes are focused on the phone box and the conversation between predator and prey. Whilst this may seem boring and mundane the film kept my interest very well indeed and I believe this would be the same for most viewers. It just goes to show that a simple film script doesnít necessarily compromise its effectiveness.
Forest Whitaker (Captain Ed Ramey) plays the lead cop in the film and does a not outstanding but decent job in this role. It would have been very hard to stand out in a sideline actor in a script such as this.
In summary, the film is a thought provoker and makes a valid point that Iím sure many of us can relate to or have experienced in our everyday lives. Unfortunately you can see the red herrings and twists (especially in the finale) coming from a mile off, which I didnít like. A good performance from Colin Farrell and Forest Whitaker as the lead policeman helps the film. Iím not going to watch it again, but Iím not asking for 2 hours of my life back either Ė weíll give this film a strong 7 out of 10.