Directed by Ramzi Abed
Distributed by Cinema Epoch
Far be it from me to bemoan the usage of a telephone or focusing on someone crying for the better part of 90 minutes, but after watching director Ramzi Abed’s continuous shot dramatic/darkly depressing feature Telephone World, I’m sad to report that there isn’t a whole lot to offer here.
The movie’s plot is as easy to adhere to as color-by-numbers: Our main character, Rachel (Dowling), is on the verge of landing a very important (and potentially lucrative) role in a popular TV series – but as the ups come in short bursts, the downs punch you in the junk with enough force to keel you over with titanic ferocity. She has a family member dying of cancer and is in the process of suffering a damaging breakup with her boyfriend. Got all that? Good, because that’s the extent of our plot.
Now the delivery: We follow Rachel continuously through her apartment during this mentally taxing day as she uses the phone constantly, goes about her daily routine, and eventually suffers an emotional breakdown of sorts. The camera is unceasingly in our lead actress’ face and at times utterly maddening with its appearance.
If not for the arresting performance of Dowling as a woman whose mind has clearly reached its breaking point, the movie would have suffered more than it already does. I applaud Abed for his brave use of the camera here, but there isn’t enough Dramamine on the planet to cure the case of motion sickness you’ll suffer when attempting to fix your eyes upon this sympathetic film.
In closing, I’d probably have to recommend letting the answering machine pick up this call as it’s probably a wrong number anyway.
2 out of 5