I received a copy of this film from a friend a few weeks ago. As with any DVD which now falls into my possession, I felt that this came with an implicit challenge: I dare you to write a review of this. Never one to ignore an imaginary challenge, here I am.
In this day and age, a thriller about cyberstalking, focused on the anonymity of a phone call seems quaint, almost prehistoric. We watch our backs every day hoping that someone with google glass isn’t recording our private jokes and intimate conversations. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually been in a phone booth. If I have, I have definitely not made a call from one. All this places the film squarely in it’s time. This slightly dated effect is not lessened by the almost excessive use of split screen, double screen, triple and quadruple screen as well as overlays and posterisation effects. This film is a relic of the early digital era when a simple mobile phone was scary and video effects were new enough to not be cliche.
Colin Farrell holds the film entirely on his shoulders. The action, which takes place in real time, never leaves his side for over an hour of film. His character is full revealed in five minutes at the start, before the main stage of the action is set up. From that point onwards the tension doesn’t let up for so much as a minute. We see Farrell’s character torn to pieces and made into a new human being by the power of an anonymous voice. This truly is an astonishing performance. After so little introduction to a character the audience still is able to understand and accept his transition due to Farrell’s performance.
From a directorial point of view, it is difficult to maintain interest in such a linear story with only one setting. This film, however, throws enough plot twists into the mix to make it continually dynamic. The action in this film is barely worth mentioning, it is more of a psychological thriller than anything else. As such maintaining suspense is key to making this an engaging film. This is most definitely achieved in great style.