Video Virgil: "Phone Booth"
I wouldn't have rented this one, but when I saw the stunning opening sequence on HBO, I stayed for the rest.
The opener begins with a cliche: a zoom shot from outer space through the earth's atmosphere down toward North America and finally into good old gridlocked Mahattan. But the cliche is nicely souped up, as we are also pulled into an ocean of humming frequencies: millions of people talking on their cellphones.
Then we are prancing down Broadway with Stuart (Colin Farrell), a slick, obnoxious would-be talent agent shouting ridiculous promises into two different cellphones while a young sycophant juggles two more.
You won't like Stuart, but stay with him, because he's about to undergo an amazing transformation. By stepping into a beat-up phone booth to call a young woman he's trying to hit on, he also steps into an evil trap.
Or maybe it's a good trap? Leaving the booth, Stuart hears the phone ring and out of curiosity picks it up. Then he is stuck, because high in one of the surrounding buildings is a sniper who not only knows Stuart's soul but intends to save it -- by any means necessary. Every pseudo-artist claims moral ambiguity as a theme, but few actually pull it off. This one does.