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One of the most beautifully crafted movies of the past 10 years. Why
this movie is going by with very little publicity is beyond me. It has
incredible screenplay, incredible directing (Michael Mann puts his
trademark two cents in with the camera work and gritty feeling left
from the lighting) and above all, great acting. Foxx and Cruise work
together in a way unrivaled since..... Excellent story with little or
no plot holes I could find. No cheesy lines, although the ending was
quite rehashed from other suspense thrillers. All in all, this movie
exceeded my expectations for a summer movie.
Pros:Excellent Acting, Screenplay, Plot, Script, and Directing Cons: Unoriginal Ending, seems a bit overly dramatic.
This was quite a beautiful movie.
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
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.
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.
*** This review may contain 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.
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 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!
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 review may contain 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.
This is a collision of two lives
All collapsed in the events of one
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
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.
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