Note: This week's scheduled focus on Ed Solomon's Levity has been postponed because the film's release has been pushed back to April 26th.
Last week, Film Forum focused on the new Joel Schumacher film Phone Booth. The thriller's simple, suspenseful plot places Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell), a self-centered Manhattan publicist, in a phone booth at a busy intersection where a sniper (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) holds him as a long-distance hostage. From an unknown hiding place in one of the countless skyscraper windows around him, the villain gives Stu orders over the phone, forcing him to appear as a deranged and murderous gunman (false) and reveal himself as an unfaithful husband (nearly true.)
Religious press critics differ on whether the film is a significant morality play or merely sensationalized suspense. Some are impressed by the story's strong moral lesson, but others find it rather distastefully delivered.
Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says it "has a message which can be easily traced back to the scriptures. Stu is being forced to recognize a spiritual reality that will eventually face us all."
David Bruce (Hollywood Jesus) raves, "Not since Daredevil has there been a film with so much spiritual symbolism in it. The phone booth … serves as a confessional. The sniper being perched high up in a skyscraper is very godlike. This is a story about judgment, confession, and redemption. The sniper wants Stu to call his wife and confess his unfaithfulness—doing penance." Bruce then highlights a symbolically Christ-like progression, a death and resurrection of sorts, and he concludes, "Could any film be more dead-on with the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ?"
Bob Smithouser (Focus on the ...1