Cellular (2004)

Director: David R. Ellis
Writer: Larry CohenChris Morgan
Cast: Chris EvansJason Statham, Kim BasingerJessica BielNoah EmmerichWilliam H. MacyMircea MonroeLin Shaye 
Seen on: 27.12.2016

Teacher Jessica Martin (Kim Basinger) finds herself being held captive by Ethan (Jason Statham), who is actually looking for her husband. As Jessica is locked away in the attic, she applies her science knowledge to use the smashed up phone their. The catch is that she can’t really control the dial. Quite by chance she ends up calling carefree surfer dude Ryan (Chris Evans). Ryan doubts Jessica’s story, but she manages to convince him – and it’s up to him to help her out of this very bad situation.

I didn’t expect much from Cellular – some mindless action. Which is what I got, but in a surprisingly charming and humorous package.

Cellular is not a film set to redefine the genre or to even prove a particularly outstanding example of it. But it’s a film that is incredibly solid in every aspect. It’s not so much a piece of art (though it is that, too of course), but rather an example of good craftsmanship. Almost everything about it works flawlessly (that last line almost pushed the film into being its own persiflage) and does exactly what it sets out to do.

Craftsmanship is a good thing but it does come with certain limitations, specifically with the well established genre limitations we all know, like Ryan has to be rewarded with the beautiful girl because he proved himself worthy of her with his saving the girl (in a slight twist, these are two different people in this film).

The only person who seemed to have wandered in from a slightly different movie was Bob Mooney (William H. Macy), the police officer who takes up the trail and tries to solve the case. He is slightly bumbling, but competent and may just as well have been in a Coen brothers film. Also, I was never as emotionally invested in a fish, I think, outside of animated films, and he saves the little fucker in one of the best moments in the film, so there’s nothing not to love about that.

With a good cast giving decent performances, a script that knows what it’s doing and a short runtime, Cellular builds its central idea into a good film that won’t blow anybody away but that’s certainly enjoyable.

Summarizing: Absolutely solid.

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