Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, Jason Statham, Jessica Biel, Noah Emmerich|
|Director:||David R. Ellis|
|Producer:||Lauren Lloyd, Dean Devlin|
|Distributor:||New Line Cinema|
“If the signal dies so does she.”
Some occurrences in life make us stronger. Some make us realize what life really means, what the people in that life mean, not just to us but to others. Love doesn’t have to be the romantic kind. Friendship and loyalty can pop up at any time in any place for any reason. God plants within each human heart the ability to utilize all these qualities, but it is up to us to tap into them and recognize them, to use them for the greater good. Giving of oneself can be scary yet at the same time be the most fulfilling part of human existence. “Cellular” has a ring tone that’s loud and clear on this note.
Jessica Martin (an ever convincing Kim Basinger) is a science teacher who loves her family, especially her young son Ricky (Adam Taylor Gordon). They live in an upscale section of Brentwood, California where her husband Craig (Richard Burgi) is a successful realtor. The day starts out like so many, dropping her son off at the school bus, getting ready for work, having coffee. But, out of no where Jessica’s life changes to panic stricken chaos when she is abducted and her son is kidnaped by a band of hard men led by a cold leader (intense Jason Statham) who demand information from her that she has no knowledge of. Jessica is adamant that they have the wrong family, but her captures are insistent that her husband has something they will stop at nothing to retrieve, even at killing her and anyone else who gets in the way.
As all this is brewing, Ryan (the real star of this movie Chris Evans) a self-centered young man, is making the rounds on the Santa Monica pier schmoozing with the ladies and being his unconcerned self. It is his main goal to just hang out and have fun. All this is about to change drastically when he gets a call on his cell phone from Jessica who has been putting her science teacher know-how to work by piecing together a broken phone and trying to reach anyone who can help her. Ryan thinks it’s a prank at first, but through the course of the conversation comes to the horrible conclusion he is the only one who can help this terrified woman. The wheels start turning and it becomes clear to Ryan he is on a mission that is life or death.
Ryan manages to get the cell phone to a desk cop named Mooney (an always wonderfully quirky, thoughtful William H. Macy). Her voice convinces even Mooney and he scribbles down as much info as he can. Just as it seems Jessica has met her rescuers, a fight breaks out in the lobby of the Police Station and Ryan is instructed to take the phone up to homicide on the fourth floor while Mooney assists in settling down the uproar. From this point on it is Ryan’s soul purpose to rescue Jessica and her family at any cost.
Ryan spends the better part of the movie trying to stay on the line with Jessica while he jumps through dozens of outlandish hoops until the powerful climax. The three main character’s lives intertwine wonderfully in a maddening attempt to beat the clock and uncover the criminals, rescue the Martin family and bring all to justice.
It sounds all thrill-film formula, and you are right, but the way it is presented to us is breathtaking fun and an ingenious use of cell phone technology. Writer Larry Cohen has done it again with phones and the people who use them. It takes us on the next level for cell phone usage, namely how these little devices can function as an emergency alarm, maintain callback records, convey stored information, and preserve evidence by making little stored movies. All one needs is to be sure the battery remains charged up, which is a wonderful scene in this film along with the commandeering of a lawyer’s car during the rescue that must be witnessed to appreciate. Comedic breaks run throughout to give a welcome breather from all the intensity and they are placed at just the right points.
“Cellular” takes us all on a wild ride of crazy, highly unlikely, obnoxious occurrences, but we all go along because the motivations of the characters are strong and clear. It is a relentless non-stop roller coaster ride from five minutes in until the electrifying finale. Even the ending credits are a treat.
Even though I enjoyed myself, I still find some points of caution to concerned Christians. Be advised there are shooting scenes where people are killed, blood and violence, people and children in peril. There are frantic realistic crash scenes. Guns are used, women are slapped and thrown to the floor. Ryan’s friend makes several references to female body parts and one character makes a lued finger gesture. The f-word is used once, sh*t seven times, a** once, bull-sh* three times, a**hole once, bi*ch* three times, and the Lord’s name was spoken in vain two times. Almost all of these profanities were uttered by the villains.
In the end, Ryan’s character finds that being selfish and vain are not the way to man’s fulfillment in life. The lessons learned are clear and true to the characters in this story. Self sacrifice, the options to care for others even if we do not know them personally, and the willingness to fight for a worthy cause with no thought of oneself are noble Christ centered points made throughout this film. It is evident that the youthful Ryan character has been transformed by his experience and he has come out the other side as a wiser, more mature, concerned individual.
Sometimes a stranger can ease a stressful situation, can be a light in the darkness, or even save a life. I believe that God is changing our culture one person at a time. Ryan is the essence of one type of person we deal with daily—the one who is self obsessed and seemingly unfeeling of all other’s needs around him. The “me” generation has given birth to such as these. It also reminds me, as tribute this week, of the people who gave of themselves on 9-11-01 to save and rescue others on that fateful day. Many who lost their lives that day did so with no thought to themselves but to save the lives of perfect strangers. They became a shining light letting others see Jesus in them through love and sacrifice. Even in a world so out of touch with Christian values God places people in line with others as an example of His love for all of us sometimes to be a beam of hope for people caught in a desperate situation.
Remember that the ultimate purpose for living is to know and glorify God. Pray with your family, friends, and even strangers. Share the importance of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. You might just help to save a valuable human life!
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor