Abducted Jessica Martin's frantic wire-connecting on a smashed-up landline phone finally connects her with cell-phoned surfer-dude Ryan (Chris Evans) in Cellular, an action thriller that has just enough cool touches to make it effective. After Jessica (Kim Basinger) is threatened by three men looking for her husband, she is forced to protect her child, give up his locale, and beg this skeptical stranger to believe her and help her. Ryan eventually does and is determined to aid and not lose their tenuous phone link. Part Speed, part Phone Booth, this ride is filled with crashes and chases and is a high-octane trip that's a taut 95 minutes.
The 2.40:1 anamorphic picture is crisp if not spectacular, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack makes nice use of the subwoofer and surrounds. Dialogue is understandable and not drowned out by the bombast, and the crackling phone effects are impressive throughout. Extras are unusual and refreshing. A short documentary on phone history and how the technology has progressed electronically over the years is entertaining and not techspeak-driven, and a segment on the 1999 LAPD Rampart Division corruption scandal, which inspired certain story elements, is fascinating and engrossing.
Performances are first-rate, but Evans steals the show. Completely believable, he nails the desperation, emotion, and pressure of a skeptic who is inexplicably drawn into this chaos and must be completely trusting. The simple setup and plot are clever. If you're a fan of nonstop bedlam, hop on board.