ⓘ Cellular (film)

Cellular (film)

ⓘ Cellular (film)

Cellular is a 2004 American action thriller film directed by David R. Ellis. The film stars Chris Evans, Jason Statham, Kim Basinger and William H. Macy in the lead roles while Noah Emmerich, Richard Burgi, Valerie Cruz and Jessica Biel are featured in supporting roles. The screenplay was written by Chris Morgan and Larry Cohen.

The film was released on 10 September 2004.


1. Plot

Jessica Martin Kim Basinger, a high school biology teacher, takes her son Ricky to the bus stop for school. After she returns home, several men break into her house and kill her housekeeper. The men kidnap Jessica and confine her in the attic of their safe house. Ethan Greer Jason Statham, the group leader, smashes the landline telephone hanging on one of the beams in the attic. Jessica uses the wires of the broken phone and contacts the random number of the cellphone, Nokia 6600 belonging to Ryan Chris Evans, a carefree young man who has just been dumped by his girlfriend, Chloe, Jessica Biel.

Jessica persuades Ryan to go to the police station, where he reports to Sergeant Bob Mooney William H. Macy. When a fight between several police officers and apprehended gang members breaks out, Mooney is forced to intervene and tells Ryan to report the kidnapping to the robbery-homicide division. When Jessica denies knowledge of information Ethan wants, he leaves to get Ricky. Overhearing them, Ryan gets to Rickys school, only to see the boy kidnapped. He hijacks a security officers car and gives chase. When his phone battery runs out, he takes the gun in the car, holds up a store and demands a charger.

Deciding to check on Ryans kidnapping claim, Mooney visits Jessicas house. He meets Dana Bayback Valerie Cruz, the kidnappers accomplice, posing as Jessica. Believing the claim is a false alarm, Mooney leaves. With Ricky in tow, Ethan returns and asks Jessica about a place her husband Craig mentioned, "The Left Field", and Jessica confesses that it is a bar at the Los Angeles International Airport.

A cross-connection between phone lines causes Ryan to rob a nearby lawyers cellphone and car to maintain connection. At the airport, Ryan plants the gun on one of the kidnappers, triggering the alarm. When security intervenes, the kidnappers are revealed to be police officers and they proceed to apprehend Craig. After viewing a news report of Ryan holding up a store for a charger, Mooney calls Jessicas home. He notices the voice on the answering machine is different from that of the woman he met.

The kidnappers escort Craig to his safe deposit box at a bank to retrieve a bag. Ryan intervenes and flees with the bag, but drops the lawyers cellphone while being chased by the kidnappers. When Ryan opens Craigs bag, he finds Craigs video camera, on which Craig unintentionally filmed LAPD Detectives Ethan, Mad Dog, Dimitri, Bayback, Deason, and Jack Tanner Noah Emmerich, robbing and murdering two drug dealers, marking them as dirty cops.

Ryan steals the lawyers car from the impound lot and retrieves his own cellphone. Mooney returns to the Martin residence, where he kills Bayback in self-defense when she shoots at him. Back at the safe house, Mad Dog learns that Jessica has been trying to contact help and attacks her. Jessica purposely cuts his brachial artery, and he bleeds to death in seconds. Before Jessica and Ricky can escape, Ethans gang returns with Craig and are about to execute the family when Ryan contacts Ethan and makes a deal: the videotape in exchange for the Martin family at the Santa Monica Pier.

At the pier, Ryan disguises himself but is inadvertently exposed by Chloe. Tanner sends Mooney away for medical attention, arrests Ryan and brings him to Ethan. Ethan destroys the videotape, and Tanner radios the order to execute the Martins; however, Mooney overhears the transmission. Ryan escapes, following a distraction by his friend Chad. Mooney overpowers Dimitri and handcuffs him, then returns to the pier. Tanner and Ethan confront Ryan in a boathouse where Ryan knocks out Tanner. Ethan tries to kill Ryan, but Mooney shows up. After a brief chase, Ryan notices Ethan has circled behind Mooney and calls Ethans cell phone. The phones ring betrays Ethans position, and Mooney shoots him.

Jessica strangles Deason with her handcuff chain in the van, then frees her husband and son. However, Deason was merely stunned and aims his gun at them. Ryan intervenes and slams Deason head in the car door. While Ryan and Mooney are being treated by medics, Tanner is also exposed, because Ryan had copied the video recording onto his cellphone. Jessica finally meets Ryan, the man who risked his life to save her family. When she tells him she doesnt know how to thank him, Ryan humorously tells her to never call him again.


2. Production

Larry Cohen, screenwriter of the 2002 thriller film Phone Booth, conceived of Cellular while working for Sony Pictures. Cohens original screenplay mimicked Phone Booth in its theme of a "narcissistically obsessed society" enamored with cell phones. Its story followed a 30- or 40-year-old man named Theo Novak who obtains a call from a woman named Lenore, who tells him that she and her husband have been abducted in a safehouse by a group of bank robbers. It is then revealed that Novak is an art thief who becomes wracked with guilt after unsuccessfully rescuing a friend from committing suicide in the past; he agrees to make a detour from a criminal undertaking and rescue Lenore. During the rescue Novak is unsuccessful, but later discovers a conspiracy involving Lenore and her accomplices over another crime they are involved with - ultimately, Novak gains the upper hand, killing Lenore and her accomplices and obtains their loot in the process, which leaves him therefore a wealthy man.

Sony Pictures then Vice President Lauren Lloyd was drawn to Cohens script and thought of pitching it to fellow executives, but was unsuccessful in doing so. She then left Sony to produce the project independently. Lloyd sent the script to her colleague producer Dean Devlin and pledged to develop it together. Aiming for a story straightforward and devoid of bitterness and cynicism present in Cohens version, the pair hired screenwriter Chris Morgan. Morgan had been passionate about crafting "a story about how an everyday person can become heroic when faced with a certain set of trying circumstances", and he incorporated that in Cellular. In an attempt to segue the scripts predominant action and thriller elements with situational comedy, as well as appeal to young audiences, Morgan took inspiration from the comical attributes of the fictional character Indiana Jones:

Im a big fan of situational humor and I feel like comedy plays best when its the right thing at the right time and not just somebody trying to make a joke. For example, in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indiana Jones is faced with fighting the swordsman and he just pulls out a gun and shoots him. That’s not really a joke, but it got a huge laugh. Thats the kind of humor we tried to work.


3. Reception

Box office

The film has had gross receipts of $32.003.620 in the U.S. and Canada and $24.419.067 in international markets for a total of $56.422.687 worldwide.

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 55% of 149 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 5.76/10. The sites consensus states, "Though its gimmicky and occasionally feels like a high-end cell phone ad, Cellular is also an energetic and twisty thriller." Metacritic, another review aggregator, gave the film a score of 60 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or averaged reviews".

Entertainment Weekly called the film "pure chase-thriller excitement", and Claudia Puig of USA Today called it a "well-paced action film in the vein of Speed ". Roger Ebert rated it three and half stars and called it "one of the years best thrillers".

Kim Basinger was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the 31st Saturn Awards.


4. Home media and remakes

A novelization of the film was written by Pat Cadigan and released in October 2004 by Black Flame. Cellular was released on DVD along with the VHS format on January 18, 2005. The film was released on Blu-ray on July 17, 2012.

In 2008, a Hong Kong remake of the film entitled Connected was co-written, produced and directed by Benny Chan. The film stars Louis Koo, Barbie Shu, Nick Cheung and Liu Ye.

The 2007 Bollywood film Speed is an adaption of Cellular directed by Vikram Bhatt. The film stars Zayed Khan, Sanjay Suri, Urmila Matondkar, Aftab Shivdasani and Aashish Chaudhary.

In 2009, a Tollywood remake of the film entitled Risk was directed by Riingo Banerjee. The film stars Hiran Chatterjee, Rajesh Sharma, Rituparna Sengupta, Priyanka Sarkar and Subhasish Mukhopadhyay.

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