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  • For the better part of his career, Tom Cruise has played the All-American good guy. Gleaming eyed and bushy tailed, Cruise has played the roll of the hero in many films and is certainly the richer for it.

    Something happened along the way, though. Cruise wanted to be considered a legitimate actor, rather than merely a "movie star." Therefore, we've seen him go against type, successfully (MAGNOLIA), and not so much (THE LAST SAMURAI). It's as if Cruise is the neglected kid in the back of the classroom who knows all of the answers but is never called upon, and therefore will go to desperate ends for attention. "Oh, Oh!! Pick me!!! Pick me!!!"

    For me, Cruise hit it this time. His character in COLLATERAL is a menacing study in coldness. It is a thoroughly believable depiction of an utterly ruthless hit-man. It seems, finally, Cruise is actually BAD, rather than merely acting bad. He disdains his usual tricks in favor of a simple and very real performance.

    Let us not forget Jamie Foxx. His character's transformation into a hero is rendered all the more effective by how wonderfully Foxx captures his character's initial impotence and bewilderment. It's a wonderfully effective, energetic, and yet very subtle performance.

    Special kudos to Michael Mann. He has a very interesting eye when it comes to capturing the city of Los Angeles on film. His vision of L.A. in this film is one of unease and uncertainty, hardly the usual glitz and glamor treatment. This work is always compelling to the eye and paced to keep the action moving ever forward. Each scene has its own logic, contributing to the overall whole. This is first rate film-making.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Dirty, sun baked, sprawled, crowded... LA generally has its soul borne to us in sunsets and palm trees, highways and high-rises. Michael Mann and his creative eye for detail and engrossing storytelling style showed us a different Los Angeles. One of soft lights that spill from their street lamps, blues that mix with whites and mingle with greens. His veteran hand having wrought films such as HEAT and Ali, Mann delivers a beautifully created film, which compels the audience to not just watch and listen, but to be a part of the film, and to truly challenge the characters brought to life on screen.

    Tom Cruise plays Vincent, a cold contract killer in LA for a single night of hits. Through an interesting course of events, Max (Jamie Foxx), a timid cab driver who lives on dreams never full realized, gets pulled into the whirlwind of murders as the driver for a hired assassin. The majority of the film is just that, Max and Vincent. Cruise drowns himself in the role, training in weapons handling for months beforehand and plays Vincent as a cobra, a natural killer of lightning reflexes and sudden violence. A contrast to Nathan Algren of The Last Samurai, Cruise plays a morally flexible man of questionable scruples quite well, characterizing a dystopian apathy well. Foxx gives a terrific and serious performance as Max, showing well his growth through the film. Also uncharacteristically heavy, the character of Max was a challenge well met by Foxx. The admiration between the two characters is evident only via the actor's incredible performances and without such subtle and silent respect for each other, the characters (and thus the film), would fail.

    A modern Film Noir, Collateral starts with a smooth beat and never skips until the final notes. Music choice is excellent, flowing into and out of the smooth and extremely choosy camera work. Without interrupting the scene, the music simply adds to the pressure and tension. The first shots of the film set its tempo; a combination of quick shots of characterization, tearing tiny pieces of meaning from a whole, and large, smooth panning shots in filtered digital, lighting in even blues smoothing all of LA's rough edges, present the film immediately as a piece to be taken in. Los Angeles is presented in all of its sprawling, seedy glory as a ponderous, living, breathing and dangerous American Hell in the most beautiful way in years. Stylized artwork in the film results in beautiful scenes of high contrast, the medium gray of Vincent mixing with the blues, blacks and whites of the background and mis en scene to create compelling visuals. The smart dialogue, written by Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean), is short, often witty and has a knife fight nature of quick cuts and ripostes. Mann's camera continues to bring the audience into the movie, slipping us into the cab to nearly intrude on the dialogue between Vincent and Max as they explore each other's limits over a series of threats, philosophical discussion and guidance in a setting so tense it nearly quivers.

    For most of the movie the audience never sees the action, only the Vincent and Max. Their growth is incredible, Mann coaxing amazing performances from his leading men. Masterful use of the camera, well written dialogue and incredible acting take a movie in which nothing happens, no explosions, no thunderous gunshots, no huge arguments or fanfare, and presents it as perhaps the most compelling and intriguing film in recent years.

    A macabre relationship develops between Vincent and Max which leads into sibling rivalry, relationship and life advice, moral guidance and general discussion of life which is an area generally left to close friends to breach. Poetic scenes involving an understated fight for motherly affection and a question of morality of the hows and whens to kill lead to an intense relationship that seems to bond the two men. In terminus, the two realize their admiration for the contrasting aspects of the other man and the resultant event is a confrontation, a skillfully manufactured climax. The most compelling aspect of the film is not the content but what that content means. As Max and Vincent explore each other and developed, their conversations pose questions and begin to form inquiries in the minds of the audience. Some answers are the easy ones; others are much harder to come to resolution with. There is no right answer to any of them.

    Never losing momentum, the film inexorably pushes onward through its motions, the audience running after it attentively. The third act of the film comes after a climactic gunfight and seems almost a let down until once again we are at home with Max and Vincent in the cleanest cab in LA. A series of quick twists deliver a more conventional final piece of the film, hurtling toward a final confrontation. It can not be emphasized how different the final part of the film is from the former pieces, nor how important it is to the film in its entirety. An interesting and intense crime drama, Collateral delivers in a way few films have in many years and will leave you walking away from the theater wondering at the significance of the film.
  • daytony9425 February 2005
    Collateral is a masterpiece of American cinema. Jamie Foxx is Max, a Los Angeles cab driver with dreams of his own limo company, "Island Limo". After twelve years on the job he has become quite gifted at discerning the most intimate details of his passengers' lives... just a glance at their clothes, and he knows.

    His worldly insight manages to tear down the defenses of one of his passengers, a State Attorney played by Jada Pinkett Smith, who graces him with her phone number. Max hasn't even begun to revel in the pleasure of possessing the beautiful attorney's digits when he gets his next passenger, Tom Cruise as Vincent, a slick hit-man in town for a night of killing.

    When a body drops out of a fourth story window and onto Max's cab, he becomes an unwilling partner on Vincent's murder spree. Director Michael Mann (The Insider, Ali) does a masterful job manipulating texture and tone throughout the movie, taking us to settings as diverse as a junkie's apartment, a penthouse, a hospital room, and a smoky jazz club, all the while making the city of angels a central character in the story.

    The soundtrack is also excellent, with a mixture of popular music and ambient tracks perfectly-timed and synced to the story... tribal drumbeats during the chase scenes, haunting rock ballads at pivotal moments, and one track that reminded this viewer of the scene at the other end of Tom Cruise's career, when he drives his father's Porsche out of the garage in "Risky Business" to the accompaniment of a thumping synth track. A bizarre side-note, I know.

    As the movie builds to a climax, the police are hunting for Max, believing he is the one on a killing spree, and Vincent stalks his final victim in a blacked-out high-rise office to a backdrop of the brilliant LA skyline, reflected in multiplicity by the office's dozens of glass cubicles.

    Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, and Jada Pinkett Smith all rise to the occasion in Collateral, and together they transcend their previous appearances on film. Mark Ruffalo gives a good performance as the cop who knows everything is not what it seems.

    There are a few minor plot points which didn't sufficiently suspend my disbelief (like when Max agrees to take Vincent the vicious hit-man to see his Mother in the hospital), but overall this is a fantastic movie.

    Troy Dayton
  • It is hard to lavish enough praise on the acting on display here from the two main protagonists. Jamie Foxx shows signs of the charisma and ability that made him a cert for the best actor Oscar for Ray. Meanwhile Tom Cruise is a sheer revelation as the psychotic but professional hit-man Vincent.

    Cabbie Max (Foxx) picks up Vincent (Cruise) expecting just another job. When Vincent offers to double his nightly earnings if he drives him all night he accepts, until Vincent's mission is revealed. What follows is a night of hell for Max, reluctantly driving Vincent from hit to hit, all the while trying to stay alive and do the right thing, two goals which may ultimately be unachievable together. What is most fascinating about Cruise's character though is the sheer indifference he shows towards his victims. He does not hate them, he doesn't even know them, he has just been assigned to kill them and does so with absolutely no remorse. When a body crashes on to his cab, followed by Vincent's re-appearance, Max is shocked by the answer to his accusatory 'you killed him!" - No, I shot him, the bullets and the fall killed him." This matter-of-fact approach is indicative of Vincent's professionalism, and adds a really chilling level of apathy to the character.

    It is certainly refreshing to see Cruise in such a different role, and it is one which he really gets his teeth into, producing a sociopath contract killer, seemingly with no remorse and no redeeming qualities. He pulls it off with a genuinely sinister edge on the character, and the final half hour is particularly impressive from an acting point of view.

    Jamie Foxx however is certainly by no means acted off the screen. His likable cabbie with relaxed attitude to life (well, until he meets Cruise) shows many of the qualities he used to really bring Ray Charles to life later.

    The action too is well staged by Michael Mann, in probably his best work since Heat. It is easy to track the action through the relatively simple plot, and the set piece scenes are competently done without being spectacular. A very good above average thriller, but most notable for Cruise's revelation of another string to his acting bow. A superbly acted film.
  • This film could be a major turning point in Tom's career. He plays Vincent with cold-blooded charm. It is wonderful to watch a character stay flawless throughout an entire film and not be OTT with Hollywood FX etc. The dialogue between Vincent and Max is brilliant and the tug of hate they exchange brings out some chilling truths.

    I love the way this movie has been filmed. It almost shows you the dark side of LA as well as the dark side of life.

    The soundtrack cruises through the film beautifully. It is well timed at crucial scenes and when the film is done, you just want to buy the soundtrack to listen to.

    Everyone that I have recommended this film to have been well pleased. However, Tom Cruise was sensational in this film and I was never keen on him. This film sits high in the rankings table for me and I am telling those who haven't seen it - YOU MUST!
  • Collateral is a nearly flawless, action, fast paced thriller with superb acting. It is without a doubt one of the best films ever made.

    The acting by the film's 2 stars, Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx is absolutely masterful. These 2 already phenomenal actors displayed an even higher notch of excellence in Collateral. Acting-wise, this is definitely one of the most indescribably amazing movies ever.

    The script is very simple, and could have been easily taken way too far, however, Michael Mann makes sure that the story is not overdone, and delivers a solid beginning, middle, and fabulous ending.

    I know I've already gone over the acting once, but Tom Cruise definitely deserves even more recognition. He plays a professional hit-man just the way it should be played, and more. A hit-man isn't like Rambo, a hit-man doesn't have 5 machine guns strapped to his back and over 50,000 rounds of ammunition. No, Tom Cruise displays a purely flawless performance about what a hit-man really is. A hit-man is supposed to be gentleman-like, and they are supposed to act as if they are going about their daily lives, even before a hit. Many people believe that Tom Cruise's character in the movie was mentally ill because of the way he seemed calm one minute and killed people the next, however he was doing nothing more than his job. It is almost like in a football game, if you are originally a nice person, and you step on the field, you become a killer. Tom Cruise, when doing his job, is a killer. When he is not, he is nothing more than a normal man. This is how great of a performance he delivered.

    Collateral opens up with a punch, and never lets up. It is my favorite movie, and one of the most superb action flicks ever made.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    What happens when a working class stiff - you know, a decent human being and a live-and-let-live Average Joe type - finds himself face to face with Evil incarnate? Well, that's exactly what happens to a cab driver named Max in Michael Mann's allegorical thriller "Collateral," a sharply-defined morality tale that unfolds on the freeways and surface streets of after-hours Los Angeles.

    "Collateral" is that rare crime drama that is more concerned with theme and character than with the mechanics of the crime - at least until the movie shatters to pieces in its closing reel, that is. But for starters, writer Stuart Beattie has come up with a humdinger of a premise to get the ball rolling. Max has been driving a cab for twelve years now, but he still has dreams of owning a fancy limo company one day, then retiring to his own private little island getaway in the South Seas. One fateful night, he picks up a fare who will end up changing his life forever. Vincent is a paid assassin who virtually kidnaps Max, forcing him to drive him around town so he can track down and execute his assigned hits. Max can do little but look on helplessly as he gets pulled further and further into this cat-and-mouse game of cold-blooded murder.

    "Collateral" is, above all, an actor's film, as two intriguing characters square off in a fascinating duel of wills. As Max, Jamie Foxx beautifully captures the subtle intensity of a man, passive and humanistic by nature, who is forced to participate in what is to him an incomprehensible case of ritualized slaughter. Tom Cruise, cast against type as an unshaven, salt-and-pepper-haired villain, is chilling as a steely-eyed killer seemingly cut off from even the most basic human emotions of empathy and concern for one's fellow man. Together, these two fine actors draw us into their epic struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil, with the latter seemingly holding most of the cards.

    The movie is filled with moments of extraordinary suspense and tension as Vincent and Max act out their human drama against the backdrop of a beautifully filmed LA at night - with Mann showing, once again, as he did in "Heat," that no director captures that milieu with greater precision than he does. Moreover, the moody soundtrack provides a perfect, otherworldly complement to the slightly surreal story unraveling on screen.

    Unfortunately, "Collateral" falls apart long about the last half hour, as the plot mechanics take over and the characters become pawns in the hands of an out-of-control screenwriter who obviously could find no workable way to bring his tale to a satisfying conclusion. The tension in the first three-quarters of the film derives from our knowledge that Vincent has, for all intents and purposes, caught Max in a snare from which he cannot escape. Thus, that cab becomes a crucial factor in the human drama taking place within its restrictive confines. But once Max and Vincent leave the cab and become separated in the closing stretches, we lose that sense of claustrophobic entrapment so essential to the tale, and most of the tension evaporates. Thus, what starts off as a severely circumscribed tale of two men caught in their own private little hell ultimately devolves into a damsel-in-distress, knight-in-shining-armor action fantasy that undercuts the realism and seriousness of all that came before.

    Still, taken as a whole, "Collateral" is a thriller well worth watching.
  • Who would have ever thought that Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise would be an on screen duo? Well it has happened in fine fashion. Michael Mann's articulate direction and his obsession with nitetime LA have made this film fast paced an smooth looking. The basic plot revolves around Foxx as a cabbie who catches a stroke of bad luck by acquiring Cruise as a passenger. Cruise turns out to be a hit-man who is picking people off as his temporary employer sees fit. A wild ride through LA's nightlife gives way for a journey of self-realization for Foxx (whom dreams of his own limo company and tropical islands). The slick script and sophistication of the plot and character development always keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Although this movie has received good ratings, I feel that the film is slightly overlooked. Collateral serves as a great model for how thrillers should be made, and it delivers a great breakthrough performance by Foxx. Well Done!
  • This is a collision of two lives… All collapsed in the events of one night…

    The movie starts with Vincent (Tom Cruise) arriving to L.A., a guy who just looks perfect…

    Some people happen to people on purpose, in order to tell them something about their lives…And they sit somewhere and share two or three lines, and they leave, and you know, your life is changed…

    When Max (Jamie Foxx) first meets Vincent, it was "who cares? He was a dreamer when he said: "I just saw the woman of my dreams…I'm getting married in my mind right now." Vincent says, "I want you to disconnect so that when you guy do connect, it's like day and night." And continues… "I got five stops to make. Collect signatures, see some friends, and then I got a 6 a.m. out of LAX. Why don't you hang with me?"

    It's not until the offering of the money that you see really connect…

    "Collateral" projects in a much deeper way into Cruise/Vincent character… He can become very quiet, and we can look at the screen, and we will feel that Cruise is totally in command…He's a quick draw…Vincent is fast…As an assassin, he must be economical in his moves…

    The film focused some of the wildness, and what lurks below the surface of L.A. Just the opening shot, when we look at that cab driving out and we see the big paintings on the walls, it was just visual sophistication…

    The movie is not an action story… It's a compelling drama with realistic action that works for the story… And it is done for an emotional reason… Cruise gives a dynamic performance as the cold-blooded killer… Foxx is terrific as the honest hearted guy driving a cab for twelve years, and both come together suddenly like a spike in a railroad right here in this point where things were going to change in one night…Jamie Foxx finds himself in the presence of a real adversary in the form of this bumbling cab driver, who has never fired a handgun in his life
  • Max thinks his day is looking up when he gets a beautiful fare who gives him a tip and her business card when she gets out. Resting on his laurels, Max nearly misses his next fare; Vincent, in LA for just one night to close out 5 deals, get signatures and then fly out by 6am and he offers Max a few hundred dollars to taxi him around for the night and then drop him at the airport. Max agrees and takes him to the first stop, only to discover that Vincent's job is actually to kill a list of 5 people and, now that Max has witnessed one killing, Vincent has no choice but to keep him with him.

    I loved this film; there is no point in trying to hide that fact, but I am not blind to the problems that it has: too many reviewers have either loved it without exception or overly criticised it. The plot has holes – there, I've said it. The plot relies on some actions that don't ring true and other times rely on coincidences or just write things in to move the plot. However this is not a massive problem because it is still very enjoyable and gripping and its other strengths cover these problems. Of course, even with the holes it is still very enjoyable but demands your patience because, although it is tense, it isn't a roller coaster for the vast majority of the time. It has very fast moments but a lot of it is talky and patient – not a problem for me, but I can see why some multiplexers may have had itchy feet waiting for action. However even with this patience, the film is still very tense – helped by some very sudden moments of violence that come out of nowhere and help put the audience on edge. Much was made in Heat of key moments where opposite characters find common ground and in this film it is the opposite but done to similarly interesting effect. Here Max and Vincent are opposites who get under each others' skins over the course of the night; their relationship is very strange and I think the script does well to bring this across even if it is hard to understand at times (part of this is their relationship getting tied up in some of the plot weaknesses).

    A big part of the plot problems being covered is due to the strong direction from Mann, who can shoot a city like nobody else. As others have said, the fly-overs look great but for me the surprise was to see Mann add digital film to his cannon. This allows him to mix very rough, intimate shots with film to bring the audience in closer. I also noticed that he seemed to do very close angles and frames with 'proper' film as well, all increasing the feel of being 'there' and intimately involved. Of course, on top of this we still had Mann's usual shooting of LA at night – fluorescent lighting, empty streets and so on – nothing new but it is still very effective and great to look at. If it weren't for the very heavy cast involved here then Mann would be the main star of the film but, as it is, his direction is just part of the film pulling together to produce the goods.

    The cast is impressive and those who have come on the basis of Cruise alone will be surprised to find so many well known faces who are very able. Cruise wants an Oscar and he has done several of the Oscar tricks to get one – his most recent attempt here is to play totally against type. He does it pretty well, making for a convincing cold killer on the surface but still able to reveal an empty core when he is pushed. If he had been allowed to do this more then maybe he would have been more impressive but he isn't and the end result is just a good performance. Of course it doesn't help that Cruise has to play opposite Jamie Foxx delivering one of his most assured performances yet. Based on seeing him in stuff like Booty Call and his own comedy show, I was worried when I saw him due to star in this movie but it turns out that he can act! In fact he dominates the film with a quiet role that runs a gauntlet of emotions while Cruise mostly sits in 'cold killer' mode, meaning that, in most scenes, Foxx is the one we are watching. The support cast is surprisingly deep and the amount of familiar faces makes some moments of violence all the more unexpected. While none of them are really given the time to shine, there are quality turns from Smith, Berg, McGill, Hall, Henley and Ruffalo and it gives the (albeit false) impression of an all-star ensemble; although why Jason Stratham bothered to turn out for the one day of shooting he must have done for the airport scene is beyond me.

    Overall this is a very effective film. The atmosphere is just right and is helped by the script, the cast and the director – all combining to provide a patient pace that still manages to be very tense and exciting. Mann's direction is great, mixing film with digital to good effect and Cruise is very good playing against type with a good support cast of well-known faces.

    However the genuine surprise of the film is Jamie Foxx; better known for clichéd ethnic comedy roles, he steps up here and just about steals every scene he is in.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Michael Mann successfully directed 'The Insider,' 'Manhunter,' and the 'Miami Vice' TV series. Tom Cruise's work in 'Magnolia, ' 'Minority Report,' and 'Vanilla Sky' shows his interest in stretching his acting experiences. Not surprisingly, then, their 'Collateral' can be placed next to 'Manchurian Candidate' and 'Bourne Supremacy' for best of the 2004 thriller race.

    'Collateral' is as slick and tricky as you'd expect from director Mann, whose Hannibal Lecter 'Manhunter,' with great acting by William Petersen and Brian Cox, is a classic of the serial-killer/disturbed cop genre. In 'Collateral' Mann has a special interest in character development with Cruise playing a gray-haired hired assassin and Jamie Foxx a hapless but humane LA cabbie forcibly hired to chauffeur Cruise on a string of hits over the course of one night. Cruise is cold and barely vulnerable as the night moves on; Foxx slowly learns how to grow from the ordeal, even finding potential love from a fare prior to Cruise. Unlikely as they may seem, the two are my nominees for best buddy team of the year, far and away smarter and more amusing than Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in 'Starsky and Hutch.'

    Part of the insightful screenplay by Stuart Beattie ('Pirates of the Caribbean') is the interplay that lets Cruise's Vincent helpfully assess Max's (Foxx) aspirations to run a limo business when he's been at the preparation for a futile dozen years. Similarly, Max leads Vincent into a discussion of life's meaning, specifically the insignificance of human lives, a topic of some interest to a hit man. The language is taut and minimalist, just right for an evening of clandestine contract murder. When Max comments about one of the hits, 'You just met him once and you killed him like that?' Vincent replies, 'What? I should only kill people after I get to know them.' The bard also made murder a literate topic when his Hamlet said, 'For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak/With most miraculous organ.' The film is not miraculous, but it speaks engagingly.

    One of the victims involves the two leads in a jazz club, where Vincent shows his considerable knowledge of the music and heartlessness for his victim. The sequence underscores Vincent's attraction to improvisation, which a night of mishaps brings into relief. Nice motif.

    Just as Sophia Coppola made Tokyo seem like a glittering rest home in 'Lost in Translation,' Mann transforms the noirish L.A. into a neon nirvana with aerial shots that soften the ragged, undistinguished architecture. The city never looked this good at night from a helicopter.

    No collateral damage to your brain to see this modern film noir.
  • Nobody's perfect, but it's hard to go wrong with a Michael Mann-directed film, especially when it's a crime movie.

    Although this isn't the quality of his 1995 "Heat," it wasn't far behind in its ability to interest and entertain the viewer while providing some slick visuals.

    Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx are the stars of the film, Foxx winning an Academy Award. No offense to him, but I found Cruise better. He was just outstanding in here as the immoral hit-man. Foxx was entertaining, too, as the nerd-ish cab driver who is pulled into Cruise's murdering adventures.

    You'll appreciate both of these guys, and the great visuals, more on the second viewing after you are familiar with the story. The intense film is definitely worth more than one look. Check out the behind-the-scenes documentary, too. You'll be glad you are not an actor in one of Mann's films.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Collateral' features the career best performances of two seemingly different actors: Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. Cruise is a heavy-hitter; every one of his movies usually makes good dough, and a lot are good. Foxx, up until now, has been reduced to your typical funny black guy roles in nearly every one of his movies. When you hear their names mentioned for the same movie, you don't think it's stupid or impossible, just that the product movie will be some sort of run of the mill, action/comedy buddy picture.

    When I first read the synopsis for 'Collateral' I thought I knew what it would be like: a PG-13 action comedy that is more concerned with A) getting stuff blowed up good and B) setting its characters up as very cool instead of very complex. It only makes sense…I mean; Adam Sandler was in Foxx's role for a while before dropping out.

    Anyway, I was wrong, and glad about it.

    The plot follows Max (Jamie Foxx), a quiet, mild-mannered L.A. cab driver that knows all the best routes in town. This becomes clear early on in a tender scene where he picks up a lawyer (Jada Pinkett Smith) and they bet on whose routes will get them to her destination faster. On the way they talk and get to know each other, and we get to know Max. Sure, Smith's character has significance later on, but this scene would be just as important if she didn't.

    Max's next fare is Vincent (Tom Cruise), a grey-haired, hard looking real estate agent who, judging by his facial hair, looks like he spent his last two days on an airplane. He convinces and pays Max to drive him around to his five real estate deals that night. Max is reluctant, but Vincent is a fine-looking guy so he accepts.

    The next thing that happens is a surprise. If you have somehow managed to dodge all information on this film then don't read on.

    While parked in an alley waiting for Vincent on his first job, a body suddenly falls onto the top of Max's cab. Max is shocked, and when Vincent appears in the alleyway he cries for help. Vincent is cool and unaffected though, and he explains to Max that he is not, in fact, a real estate agent but a hit man, and Max is his getaway driver, whether he likes it or not.

    What follows is a complex character study and a simple thriller packed into one night, most of which takes place in a cab. Vincent and Max start off at odds, and though they do not become friends, they gain a deep understanding of each other as the night goes on. Vincent constantly tells Max his world view, that if we're all just specks on a dot in the universe, who cares if one person is murdered? Max ignores this and realizes that Vincent 'lacks the standard parts that others have'. Vincent also analyzes Max…he tells him that he talks and does not do, that he's spent his life planning but taking no risks. They trade their analyses in a later scene that's supremely directed and acted.

    The film is mostly a cab ride/conversation between the two leads, which breaks occasionally to show us the cop on pursuit (Mark Ruffalo) and some of Vincent's hits, and Irma P. Hall as Max's mother in a scene that's funny and revealing. We also have Barry Shabaka Henley as a jazz club owner in a scene that's possibly the film's best, it's suspenseful, heartbreaking, and practically tears open Cruise, Foxx and Henley's characters.

    And what characters this movie has! Vincent is one of the screen's best villains; he's cool and menacing, but also very complex. He seems like a sociopath murderer, but he's more than that, and you can see the pain inside when he's mistaken as one. He's humanized when he is around people he likes, like Max and Henley's nightclub owner. He has elements of other famous villains, like Henry Fonda's Frank character from 'Once Upon a Time in the West' and Orson Welles' Harry Lime from 'The Third Man'. And just as Harry Lime has his famous cuckoo clock speech, Vincent has his own speech, about a man dieing on a subway train and not being noticed for hours. Cruise executes his character perfectly; it's both his finest character and his finest performance.

    But the film would die without both the Max character and Jamie Foxx. Max is just an average guy with his own dreams and goals and flaws, thrown into a desperate, dangerous situation forcing him to thwart a man he fears. He tries and tries for the whole night, tearful and shaky by the end, and he has an awesome scene where he turns the tables on Vincent and puts himself in control of their duo, causing Vincent to flip out.

    The movie is directed perfectly, with silences and cinematography that capture the emptiness of the night. Michael Mann manages to make the streets and skyscrapers of L.A. beautiful, both his direction and the grainy cinematography is worthy of an Oscar.

    This is one of the year's best films, and with hope it will be up for many Oscars, including Cruise and Foxx in the leading categories. Cruise and Foxx both mastered their roles, this is the best acting I've seen in years, it'll be a crime if the Academy doesn't honor them (especially after nominating 'Training Day', a movie with a very similar plot line that wasn't nearly as complex a character study).

    Another magnificent aspect is the ending. I wont spoil it, I'll just say that Vincent finds out the answer to the question, 'Who notices?' The symbolism of this scene is delicious, and it is emotional, dramatic, exciting and perfectly acted. A must-see, this is one of the best movies in a long while, 8.5/10.
  • First off,Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox have the right stuff when your talking about great acting.I won't lie when I first purchase the movie I thought it was OK and then sold my DVD.About a month later I happen to see some interviews along with the making of this movie Collateral and thats when I decided to go back out and repurchase this great movie!I won't sell you on it but I will say its worth seeing along with all the extras about the making of Collateral.I never realize just how much effort was put into this film ,Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx along with the other cast members lay down solid performances. When you see Tom Cruise in this movie you see Vincent as he might had been in real life ,you feel the power in his speech and with his actions and thats what really makes this a great movie.Jamie Foxx takes on this cab driver acting role who keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time and at other times gives you something to laugh about.If you haven't seen this movie Collateral then do yourself a favor and check it out,Tom Cruise just might make a successful hit on you,I'm giving Tom Cruise a BIG 10! Don't forget Jamie Foxx,hes a team player in this film!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    'Collateral' is probably the coolest, most stylish and intelligent crime thriller of the new millennium. Again, Michael Mann has directed an established star--Tom Cruise, as the sociopathic hit man, Vincent--to what might be his best performance ever, at least in an action film, and has taken a relatively obscure and unaccomplished actor--Jamie Foxx, as mild-mannered cabbie Max--and helped transform him into a major star. And, again, Mann has done so in the kind of film that straddles genres and reminds audiences that it is possible both to entertain and to provoke thought about serious themes.

    The story is deceptively simple: Max (Foxx) is a hard-working cabbie in L.A. with a pipe-dream of opening up a limousine business called 'Island Limos.' Mann and writer Stuart Beattie employ subtle touches to characterize the contemplative Max: he keeps his cab meticulously clean; he keeps a postcard of an Island paradise above the cab's sun-visor so that he can 'go on vacation' when dealing with traffic or obnoxious customers; in the film's rising action, Max picks up a beautiful attorney (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and proves his decency by convincing her to let him follow a time-saving shortcut, creating an unlikely romantic spark and earning himself an unexpected proposition from a woman even Max would consider out of his league.

    But Max's fate takes a perilous twist when he picks up Vincent (Cruise), a somewhat ostentatious and brusque character who offers Max six hundred dollars to ferry him to five different stops over the course of the evening to conduct 'business' before dropping him off at LAX in the early morning hours. Max is reluctant, but Vincent won't take 'no' for an answer, and so Max agrees, discovering shortly and shockingly what Vincent's 'business' actually is: he is a contract killer, in town for one night to eliminate five witnesses against members of a Mexican and Colombian drug cartel currently facing federal charges for murder and narco-trafficking. With his secret revealed, Vincent forces Max to continue their hellish journey, and the two carry on a philosophical battle of wits, with the brash, cynical Vincent challenging the virtuous and timid Max with a jaded, merciless view of human frailty as they speed towards a confrontation with an unlikely destiny.

    For all of his fame, Tom Cruise too rarely finds the right vehicles for his scrappy, athletic and intense performing style, and Vincent may be the one role that allows him the opportunity to do so many of the things audiences have come to love him for. Mann styles Vincent in a smart, '50s-style gray suit with a matching gray brush-cut and five o'clock shadow that signal both his maverick sensibility and his precise, disciplined approach to the business of murder. He philosophizes about the nature of life and death, offers biting criticism of the inhumanity of man to man epitomized by Los Angeles, America's most modern and superficial metropolis, and taunts Max for his naiveté and ineffectual lifestyle. When Vincent goes to work, Cruise stalks the screen like a lion let loose in the urban jungle, striking down his prey with an efficiency that is as beautiful as it is heartless and terrifying. Cruise fits the role as well as he fits in the finely tailored gray suit, so that the audience remains ambivalent about Vincent, who becomes a sort of Satanic hero over the course of the film.

    Jamie Foxx has been endlessly applauded for his performance in the title role of the recent Ray Charles bio-pic, but his Max should not be overlooked as a finely-wrought performance, full of subtle tics of reality and quiet reactions to Vincent's violence and perverse moral philosophy. Though Cruise is clearly the star of the film, Max is really its hero, an average Joe thrown into an incredibly frightening and unlikely scenario who manages to work through his fear and passivity to match wits with Vincent.

    Most of the film takes place in and around the cab, but this scene is hardly limiting, as it affords Mann the opportunity to exploit the beauty of Los Angeles at night, using aerial shots and sweeping vistas of the city, accompanied by a typically excellent soundtrack featuring superb electronic music as well as soul, jazz, and Mexican narcocorrida pop from the likes of Richie Havens, Miles Davis, and Bandidos de Amor.

    Mann wisely pulls away from the cab on occasion to fill in the back-story, using LA detective Fanning (Mark Ruffalo) and his partner Weidner (Peter Berg) to unravel the connection between Vincent's victims. Spanish actor Javier Bardem (a two-time Oscar nominee for best actor for 'Before Night Falls'[2000] and 'The Sea Inside'[2004]) dominates the screen in a brief appearance as Felix, the drug cartel's top man in L.A. Jada Pinkett-Smith is as lovely as always in a role that reappears in a crucial plot twist towards the end of the film.

    But the show belongs to Cruise's Vincent and Mann's Los Angeles, true visions of the American Sublime. The film is so perfectly suited to their talents that it's hard to believe that it wasn't written for them (Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, and Edward Norton were all offered the role of Vincent before Cruise, and Scorsese, Spielberg, and Spike Lee all turned down the director's chair before Mann accepted). 'Collateral' is easily among the best action thrillers in recent memory, and despite a few possible plot holes in the form of highly unlikely coincidences, it is persuasively realistic, fabulously entertaining, and thought provoking to boot. Crazy or not, Tom Cruise is as commanding a screen presence as ever, and this partnership with Michael Mann might be his best work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Badness of this movie can not be described in the 1000 word limit imposed by IMDb so I would only describe some of the obvious blunders.

    How many young hot US attorneys take cabs to work? Then hand out their business card to the cab driver after a brief conversation?

    That is the opening seen of this movie.

    If you are a professional hit-man, are you going to take a Cab driver hostage and make him drive you around and kill five people in high profile case including the US attorney and then hope that JUST LIKE one previous time in nearby city, the detectives would conclude that a Cab driver with impeccable history just lost his mind?

    That is the PREMISE of this movie.

    If you want the detectives to conclude that Cab driver indeed lost his mind, are you going to sit in a restaurant with the Cab driver and with the owner of the restaurant that you are going to kill and expose yourself to all the employees of that restaurant? Do you think a detective following up on the case would ask the waitresses, whether the Cab driver was sitting alone by himself?

    The 'Hitman' in this movie feels he is invisible and hundreds of the people around him are not able to see him.

    If you are driving around town with a Dead Body in your trunk, are you going to stick with the same cab on which you threw a dead body and SMASHED its windshield? Is this the way to NOT draw attention to yourself?

    Right after the third Hit, Cruise comes out and kills two more people in the alley.

    Two people that Cruise shot in the alley who tried to rob his hostage, the Cab driver, actually started out as four people. However, even though there were loud gunshots, two of the four did not bother to check on their friends.

    As a matter of fact, just before that, hundreds of people were passing through alley perpendicular to where the Cab was parked, and even though they could hear the car horn, they couldn't hear the gunshots, leaving Cruise and Fox to have a nice humorous conversation in peace.

    The Conversation: Apparently Cabbie's Mom was raising a ruckus by calling his company, and his Boss was trying to reach him to tell him to call her at the hospital where she is at.

    This is the same Boss, who Cruise (Hitman) and Fox (Cab Driver) told only a few minutes earlier that "they would shove a giant Yellow Cab up his...." if he demands that Fox pay for the damage to the Cab. Cruise actually pretends to be a US attorney passenger and threatens to prosecute the Boss for extorting Cab driver.

    If your EMPLOYEE cursed you in absolutely insulting manner, are you going to convey a message from their Mom to them a few minutes later?

    Then RIGHT AFTER the conversation, Cruise and Fox head to the hospital to visit Fox's Mom.

    However, even before Cruise and Fox arrive at the hospital, the CORPSES of the 3 victims have ALREADY arrived at the SAME HOSPITAL, and the detective who is searching for them, shares an elevator with them.

    Congratulations to LAPD for their efficiency in cleaning up Crime Scenes!

    If you are a FBI agent or a LAPD detective and you have your suspect under surveillance and the CAB that you are looking for, in which you believe the assassin working for your suspect is going around and killing your witnesses, that Cab is parked at side of the building, what would you do? If you think the Cabbie is the Killer, and he meets your suspect, and you know that he is heading to next witness, what will you do? Would you try to take down the killer right at the building which you have under surveillance? Most likely.

    Not in this movie.

    Here the entire LAPD and FBI get into a caravan and head to the club where witness is supposed to be. Apparently they don't want to take out the killer at relatively empty spot on the side of the building, instead they prefer to shoot the killer in middle of a Night Club where hundreds of people are dancing. Since both sides (Cruise/Fox & FBI/LAPD) started out from same spot, they arrive at the club at same time!

    Finally, if you are a hit-man and you leave your hostage for dead in a car wreck, and you are about to shoot the US attorney and your former hostage shows up with a gun pointed at you, are you going to ignore him? Even if you thought the guy was a total loser, the fact that he still walked out of the same car wreck as you and got to the same place as you and has a gun pointed at you, are you still going to ignore him? Cruise does and gets shot in the face, but doesn't die.

    Chases the Cabbie and the US attorney in a train, and as he is about to get to them, he YELLS and warns them of his approach and thus promptly gets shot. Is this how professional killers approach ARMED victims who are anticipating them?

    Last Blunder: Fox kills Cruise and then he and the girl walk off the train and he immediately takes his coat off and puts it on her.

    This after they have been running for miles, jumping trains, crashing through glasses, and have been shot at repeatedly. How cold do you think the girl was at that point? How cold does it get in LA anyway?

    It takes a genius like Michael Mann to make a movie this bad.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Over-used scenes on the subway and cat and mouse in a tall office block and comparatively minor flaws in what is otherwise a superb thriller from director Michael Mann (who made the similarly evocative 'Heat'). The story revolves around a taxi driver who is pulled into the tangled web of a trained assassin, much against his will. It is shot in DVD which enables Mann to produce very rich colours at nightime - not like the garish or washed out colours that are often what you get with celluloid night time shoots. It helps to produce a visually succulent but also very lovingly portrayed Los Angeles. The scene in the jazz club is so convincing you actually feel Miles Davis was there - and the subtext about jazz as a metaphor for life is one of the gems in what is generally a very tight script (about structure - but the important thing being the spontaneous melody that lies *behind* the tune). But the over-riding impact is from Tom Cruise, playing one of his memorable characters since his cameo in Magnolia. His performance is so convincing - he could be a role model for that type of bad guy.
  • America's film critics have finally succumbed to madness. Collateral enjoys a healthy 85% approval rating on the Rotten Tomatoes site, yet it is easily one of the ten worst films that I have ever seen. I'll grant you that the average moviegoer will probably not hate it as much as I do - nobody goes to a modern thriller expecting a masterpiece - but I think it's fair to say that many discriminating viewers will find this film trite, instantly forgettable and deeply disappointing. Worse yet: it's boring.

    Beware, for some minor (and hopefully vague) spoilers follow. I need to give away some of the plot in order to convey just how inane this movie is. I'm sure you already know that Jamie Foxx plays a cab driver who picks up a hit-man played by Tom Cruise. Foxx is placed in the unenviable position of ferrying Cruise around the city, watching helplessly as his passenger bumps off key witnesses in a major trial.

    Think about this plot for just a second, and a host of potential problems will rear their ugly heads. Surely, Cruise will have to kill Foxx at the end of the night - otherwise, Foxx will go to the cops and spill his guts. Yet Foxx doesn't seem to realize this. For the first half of the film, he goes along with everything Cruise says, putting up only a frustratingly wimpy front of resistance. His character is so clueless that he actually visits his mother with Cruise in tow, not realizing what everyone in the audience knows; Cruise only wants to meet mom so he can hold the threat of her death over Foxx's head.

    Though Cruise runs rings around Foxx for quite a while, our hapless cab driver actually has about five or six great chances to escape, all of which are squandered. He fails to give Cruise the slip in a hospital, in a bar, and in a crowded nightclub. Cruise threatens to shoot innocent bystanders, but since he's already killing people, surely it behooves Foxx to make an escape attempt anyway? Of course, Foxx does panic and flee at one point - and, within seconds, runs from a crowded area into a completely deserted one. Like you would, under those circumstances.

    Why is Foxx so scared of Cruise? Maybe because the hit-man is virtually indestructible. He shrugs off injures from car crashes and bullet wounds to the neck, soaking up damage like the Terminator and springing back to life every time he apparently dies. At one point, Cruise actually takes on a whole squad of cops and bodyguards in a packed dance club…and kills them all. Never mind that there are dozens of people around, and all anyone really has to do is grab him. I mean, come on - since when does one hit-man take on an entire crowd? Aren't assassins supposed to be subtle? Credibility is stretched so far that, even by Hollywood standards, the movie is goddamn absurd. Naturally, Cruise has to inexplicably wimp out in time for his final battle with Foxx, because we can't have the evil guy winning, can we?

    If only the action was the only lame part. Alas, the screenwriters pour salt into the wound by veering into 'philosophical' territory. Cruise waxes on about his abusive father (is this supposed to make him sympathetic?) and gives Foxx a tedious series of 'seize the day' speeches about following your dream - recycled, no doubt, from the equally annoying scripts of Fight Club and Dead Poets Society. Hollywood writers would have you believe that, if you just apply yourself, you can go from convenience store clerk or penniless cabby to successful entrepreneur in a matter of weeks. All you need is an eloquent bad guy to give you a boot in the a**! Any moment now, I expect Doctor Doom to come crashing through the wall and give me an inspirational speech about cultivating my writing talents. Or not.

    Shameful! It's just shameful. There's not a line or a scene in this movie that hasn't been lifted from another source and put through the trivializing machine. There's even a subway chase that feebly echoes The French Connection. The horror...the horror...

    Time to shut up now. You know how it is with bad movies; there's so much to complain about that it's tempting to overindulge in the smorgasbord of sarcasm. Incidentally, the increasingly silly Roger Ebert gave this three and a half stars - the same rating he gave The Shawshank Redemption...
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Collateral combines star power, great performances, top notch direction, a fantastic soundtrack and what is a bona fide contender to be called the best action scene in years. Quite simply, I can not think of a movie released in 2004 that thrilled me quite as much as Collateral. Collateral has Tom Cruise (Who rivals Sean Penn to be called my favorite actor of the generation of 40-something year olds) as Vincent, a smart, precise hit-man in Los Angeles to kill five targets in one night. He hires cabdriver Max (Jamie Foxx, in a now Oscar nominated performance) for the night and they're off. Max realizes that something is up around the time that Vincent leaves at the first stop and a dead body hits the roof of his cab. Upon his return, he replies that he didn't kill him, "Bullets and the fall killed him." Over the course of the night they make more stops, most of which turn into great scenes, whether they're going to a jazz club to off a guy or to a hospital to pay a visit to Max's mom. The scene I was referring to the best action scene in years takes place in a night club where Max and Vincent, some cops who think Max is the killer, a thug belonging to Vincent's employer who also thinks Max is the Killer, a cop who knows Max isn't the Killer, club security, Vincent's target and his bodyguards and a dance floor full of bystanders meet up. There is about five minutes of characters driving to the club that builds up tension beyond belief. When it goes down, it may be a flurry of gunfire, but with the setting of the club, the quality of Mann's direction and the coolest piece of music I've heard in a movie this year(Paul Oakenfold- Ready Steady Go,) it adds up to the best action scene of at least this year, topping even the car chases of movies like The Bourne Supremacy, Which I loved, The Matrix Reloaded, Which I liked, and I, Robot, Which I didn't care for. Collateral can be seen as an adrenaline pumping thriller, which it is, or as something more. For those of us who loved Mann's 1995 epic Heat, Collateral is definitely the latter. Mann makes references to heat in several ways. For those who thought that the subway finale was a disappointment, check out Heat. The nod there is that Heat begins on a subway platform and ends at the airport, while Collateral begins in the LAX terminal and ends on the subway. That is just one of several nods. When people have been saying stuff about the best thriller of 2004, they are frequently mentioning Collateral, The Bourne Supremacy and The Manchurian Candidate. While I consider Collateral a clear victor, I certainly understand why someone would mention The Bourne Supremacy, but The Manchurian Candidate was murky all the way through, had a weak ending and was a major step down from the 1962 version, which is one of the best movies ever made. I'll use the phrase that James Berardinelli uses on his favorite summer movies to wrap this up. When the dust settles, Collateral will be the best of this (Last) years summer movies. Sadly, Collateral only got two Oscar nods, Supporting Actor, Foxx, and Editing. However, that's more than any other mentioned summer thriller got. ***1/2 (Out of ****)
  • Michael Mann's, "Collateral," is similar in many ways to his crime classic, "Heat." "Heat" is a much better film overall because of the way Mann handles his two leads. Pacino and De Niro play the cop versus the bad guy. That's a great character study of a protagonist and an antagonist. He sets both men on opposite sides of the law and shows how similar they are and how different they are, and one wonders if their up bringing influenced their career paths. They both look and act as if they could switch places and be great at each others jobs. Mann keeps the two titans separated for the majority of the film with only two scenes shared together. "Collateral" brings these two guys, one good and one bad, together from the get- go. This is the driving force of the film and this is a necessity, but it also brings in several plot devices, coincidences, and moments were you might find yourself baffled by some of the reckless or stupid decisions made. Some audiences members will be tested to look past those moments for the moments of suspense, thrills and symbolism.

    Mann always does a great job of getting exceptional performances from multiple actors in his films and here is no different. Tom Cruise gives a nomination worthy performance. Mark Ruffalo gives the best performance of his less-than-stellar career. Javier Bardem has one scene and he hits it out of the park. Jamie Foxx is a personal favorite of Mann's, but he was miscast for this role. He was average in this role, and in order to make him look the part, they stuck some nerdy glasses on his face, and poof... he's a cab driver. Didn't quite work. He has his moments, but when he's on screen, Tom Cruise is on screen; Javier Bardem is on screen, and those two just hit their performances out of the park and he becomes a body taking up space. Cruise is excellent and surprisingly intense. Michael Mann seems to make films with great dialogue, but its the moments where he goes in close and uses extended shots of his actors eyes as they witness something powerful. Mann will set a scene in the quite or with growing background music, and let the actors emotions pour through their eyes and not a word will be said. The moment in "Collateral" comes when two coyotes run across the street. Vincent (Cruise) just gets done telling Max (Foxx) how his father died and how he would be beat him after he got drunk. This scene signifies Vincent's loneliness and the coyotes that travel in pairs hunt for other beings. Vincent is the coyote and he's looking for a partner to hunt to with. Since he has no one, he uses cab driver's. He attempts to connect with Max and profess his ideals on life, which changes Max' outlook on life. This is the changing moment of the film. This scene will lead to Max' change. He will then become the shepherd.

    Even though Mann uses plot devices and relies on coincidences, its the moments of symbolism and suspense and the thrilling nature of man hunting man that spark some moments that will make you think, or put you on the edge of your seat. Mann does an incredible job of building suspense. He does a great job of developing his characters. "Collateral" offers up some humor; some great acting; a great thriller, and a great lead performance. This is a flawed film and relies on things that can throw reality out of the window, which lessens Mann's direction, but his film accomplishes what it sets out to do. It's an exceptional film that gets better upon repeat viewings.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    ... where an average guy gets caught up in criminal activity either through bad decision making or just bad luck. This would be a case of the latter.

    This thriller is about a professional hit man(Cruise) who high-jacks a taxi cab and forces the driver (Foxx) to take him around to all his "assignments" and also seems to put Foxx in a situation that could get him killed or at least be taken for an accomplice.

    This is the movie which several critics thought Foxx deserved his Academy award for rather than the following year's "Ray". I thought he could be considered deserving in both years. In this Michael Mann directed flick, Foxx puts in an excellent performance, and Cruise also does a fine job as the cold, business-like hit man. It's when Foxx's character discovers that his woman, an attorney with the Justice department(Jada Pinkett Smith), is one of Cruise's targets, he takes major steps in trying to save her and put an end to his troubles with Cruise, who isn't as lucky on the L train as he was in "Risky Business".
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There are few directors that I would consider to have a resume that is flawless. Not Steven Spielberg (sorry, Hook and Always jump off the page too quickly. Not Ridley Scott (1492 and Legend bring back nightmares) and even the great Stanley Kubrick had his Eyes Wide Shut.

    However, there are a few directors who have yet to have that career back step due to a colossal misjudgment. Michael Mann is one of those directors.

    He might not be a household recollection, but with credits including Heat, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans and now Collateral under his legacy belt, it is only a matter of time.

    Collateral stars Tom Cruise as Vincent. We first meet Vincent in an airport when he discreetly exchanges briefcases with another unsavory character. Vincent is not the Tom Cruise that we have come to know. Here, the character has gray hair and a matching beard. He wears a gray suit and his eyes look locked-in to his objective.

    We first meet Max (Jamie Foxx) in his cab as he picks up fares and shares dreams of an island getaway. Max is a 12-year veteran of the Los Angeles' taxi force and can ramble off directions, streets and ETA's quicker than most of us can name our own family members. He has dreams of starting up his own limousine fleet and the night had started like any other.

    Max and Vincent both meet innocently enough. Vincent is looking for a ride, and Max just became available. Vincent reveals that he has five stops to make and offers Max $600 to rent his services for the evening. Although against company policy, Max accepts the more than gracious offer, and an evening rampage is then born.

    At their first stop, Max is minding his own business when a body falls on the roof of his car from a 4th floor window. Max's emotional confusion over the event is tempered by the calm demeanor of the now reappearing Vincent. In but a few moments, Max puts the pieces of the murdering puzzle together and realizes that he has been driving a killer to his prey. This realization transforms Max into a victim who is essentially kidnapped and forced to drive from kill to kill until the evening's work is complete. The movie then follows the travels of the two participants as investigators and feds try and get a jump ahead of the contracted killer and as Max tries desperately to free himself from his abetting actions.

    On paper, the storyline might not jump out and bite you like a Discovery Channel shark attack, but in the hands of director Mann, this movie sizzles with action and with as much mood as I have seen on screen since Kill Bill Vol. 2. Tom Cruise continues to take on roles that are completely opposite from his preceding film vehicle, and as contract killer Vincent, he is a force to be reckoned. His fast draw hands and his ruthless and unemotional attachment to his victims would give Hannibal Lector cause to write him fan mail. When two street thugs take Vincent's briefcase from the cab, his resolve is quick and decisive, leaving both men dead, one being shot as Vincent is already walking back to the taxi and focusing on the jobs still to be carried out. As educated as he is implacable, Vincent justifies his actions to Max by comparing Rwandan villagers who were slaughtered to his one take down of a known criminal and how our Western lack of physical reaction to the news of tens of thousands being wiped out in other countries makes us a form of hypocrite.

    Ying to his yang, Max is the conflicted 'good guy'. He is pressured without a successful exit strategy into helping Vincent on his evening killing spree and when efforts to escape fail, he beings to inquire as to the mechanisms behind the killers intentions in almost an innocent way of passing the time while taking ones mind of his criminal involvement. Max eventually reaches a breaking point that is a believable reaction to a night of extraordinary circumstances and soon after he finds himself as the only one between Vincent and the final target.

    Watching Cruise and Foxx banter and bludgeon, I could not imagine any other pairing to successful pull this thriller off as believable. Early reports were that Russell Crowe and Adam Sandler were both in consideration for Vincent and Max, and thinking of those two behemoths of Hollywood in the similar circumstances, just doesn't work with even the most inventive imaginations.

    Much like Mann's Heat, there are great face-to-face confrontations, secondary characters that don't become overbearing and actions sequences that explode in Dolby Surround Sound. Where Heat had the DeNiro/Pacino talk in the restaurant, a cheating wife and a shootout that still stands as one of the best ever filmed, Collateral counters with a great conversation between Vincent and a jazz bar owner, cops who don't smother the screen in their revelations and a shoot out in an L.A. hot spot that had the audience squirm towards the edge of their seats.

    In a summer that has been better than expected with an eclectic group of theatrical entries, Collateral might just be the best of them all. Thrill seekers can revel in that week over week, we have bettered the format in bringing The Bourne Supremacy, The Manchurian Candidate and now Collateral to our local playhouses.

    Collateral in all likelihood will not garnish any trophy consideration come the end of the year, but that is not due to the product. Mann has cast perfectly and directed through an evening in Los Angeles with the precision of a brain surgeon. And now that Collateral has offered him another feather for his cap, I think he can finally make that Indian headdress that other directors can only dream of.
  • sammie-7508924 September 2020
    It's hard to remember when acting, directing, music and character development came together to make a movie like Collateral that gently pulls you in and then rips you to pieces. If you want to see Tom Cruise in his finest role this is it.
  • dreed44420 February 2005
    This film held my attention for about 20 minutes, then it was one absurdity after another; one convenient plot manipulation after another that caused me to lose any semblance of interest. First: no cabbie would have such total independence from the dispatcher - we hear from the dispatcher twice - the first time he gets chewed out by Cruise (yeah, like THAT is going to happen) and the second time to relay that Foxx's mother called. Absurd. Anyone that's been in a cab, much less DRIVEN one, would know that you just don't drive around L.A. all night without checking in or there would be hell to pay not to mention cops looking for you. Cabbies get robbed and/or killed all the time, their disappearance would not go undetected. Second: the body left in the trunk - did Cruise just sort of space out that teeny piece of evidence? Third: good thing a neutron bomb hit L.A. that night so there was no traffic hardly anywhere. Uh huh. It's so helpful that targets in dark, noisy clubs sit where there is bright white light on them so they can be seen clearly not to mention the ease with which our main characters get away in the midst of the (eventual) chaos as the club empties out; the coyotes/wolves crossing the street, the subsequent awful musical interlude, the pseudo-psychological banter between killer and driver were enough to make me roll my eyes. ...And the list just goes on and on. This is not an adult thriller unless you're on meds that dull the senses. This is a mess of a film in spite of the acting being good -- the writing is just sloppy. There is nothing here that Hitchcock would appreciate, as some would assert. Hitchcock had plot conveniences and "coincidences" that would seem implausible, but in the hands of a Master, they were pulled off...not here, though. This is a good example of American cinema: "people don't want anything serious to think about, they just want to be entertained for a couple of hours".

    Rent this if you must, but for me, it is 2 hours of my life I'll never get back.
  • The movie focuses to Max(Jamie Foxx)a cab driver from Los Angeles.He makes his rounds during the night with numerous characters(Debi Mazar,Jada Pinkett Smith)into the car talking with them.He dreams with his own Limousinas company though to his ill mummy(Imma P.Hall)says her that he is proprietary.Vincent(Tom Cruise) is a cruel killer with an engaging contract who offers an great sum of money to drive him several locations around L.A. Max realizes which he is a murderer who has been contracted to kill various people.Events go wrong and Max becomes in hostage and he must find a way to rescue the last objective.Meanwhile a Police Inspectors(Mark Ruffalo,Peter Berg) are tracking down from the killer.

    The picture packs action,violence,drama,shootout with exciting scenes.Casting is frankly excellent,the main protagonists make a first class performance.Jamie Foxx(recently his Oscar by ¨Ray¨)as hapless cab man is awesome similarly to Tom Cruise as the relentless murderer,besides Jada Pinkett(Will Smith's wife) as obstinate prosecutor is magnificent. The film contains stimulating action set pieces as the impressive gunplay developed in a tumultuous discotheque or the breathtaking final pursuit in the building and the train. Atmospheric and spectacular music by the master James Newton Howard.Colorful cinematography -although in the main night- is by two nice cameramen,Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron.The motion picture is well directed by the successful director Michael Mann.The film will like to Tom Cruise devotees and action films enthusiastic.Rating :Better than average.Well worth watching.
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