Cellular (9/10)

by Tony Medley

How much did I enjoys Cellular? There are several things that make me sleepy. One is french fries. If I have them, or any potato, Iím generally fast asleep quickly. The second is alcohol. I have no worries about becoming an alcoholic, because Iíd be fast asleep before I could drink enough to qualify. And, thirdly, basically anything I eat will make me sleepy. For these reasons, I generally do not eat before I go to a movie, preferring to see the movie and eat afterwards.

For Cellular, however, because my friend had to get back early, we ate first. I had french fries, and a drink, and a hot meal. I thought I would sleep through the movie. But I enjoyed Cellular so much, I never even felt a yawn.

Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger) is suddenly and brutally kidnapped. Fortunately, sheís a science teacher and sheís locked in a room with a smashed phone that she puts together, dials a number and gets, at random, Ryan (Chris Evans), who is in the process of being dumped by his girl friend because heís immature, and is trying to win her back.

Ryan is initially uninterested and skeptical about Jessicaís frantic story, but after she convinces him he gets involved in a realistic (for Hollywood) thriller that proceeds at a breakneck pace.

The idea for the story came from Larry Cohen, who wrote the first script, whose phone-based story last year, Phone Booth (2003), was one of my most enjoyable films of the year. After Sony executive Lauren Llloyd left Sony, she bought the rights and hired Chris Morgan to write a fresh script, which is the one we see here.

Another plus for the film is the Los Angeles location. The film starts on the Beach and ends on Santa Monica pier, with visits to the mountains and downtown in between.

 I donít like to write about good thrillers because all I can do is spoil it for viewers. Basinger and Evans do terrific jobs, as does the rest of the cast. Basingerís performance is exceptional as she must convey worry and fear as well as courage throughout. This is an award-deserving performance. Evans, who was last seen in the dismal The Perfect Score gives a performance equal to Basingerís.

September 25, 2004

The End