This action thriller follows LA cabbie Max Durocher, the type of person who can wax poetic about other people's lives, which impresses U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell, one of his fares, so much that she gives him her telephone number at the end of her ride. Although a dedicated man as seen through the efficiency in which he does his work, he can't or won't translate that eloquence into a better life for himself. He deludes himself into believing that his now twelve year cabbie job is temporary and that someday he will own his own limousine service. He even lies to his hospitalized mother that he already owns one, with a further lie that he tells her as such primarily to make her happy, rather than the truth which is that he won't do anything to achieve that dream. One night, Max picks up a well dressed man named Vincent, who asks Max to be his only fare for the evening. For a flat fee of $600, plus an extra $100 if he gets to the airport on time - Vincent wants Max to...Written by
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.
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