Collateral (2004) 3.52/5 (3)


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Rating: The Good – 71.4
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Duration: 120 mins
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

An L.A. cab driver (Jamie Foxx) unwittingly picks up hired killer (Tom Cruise) who forces him to drive him from one hit to another through the course of the night. Perhaps Michael Mann’s most mainstream film, many were quick to praise Collateral as one of his best on its release for its remarkable photography, outstanding action, and a top cast. However, unlike much, if not all of his previous work, there are some glaring weaknesses. This was his first directorial project that he didn’t write himself and it shows as his typical ultra-real dialogue is mostly replaced by a lot of undisciplined melodrama. The story gets downright ludicrous towards the end and some of the action requires a major suspension of disbelief. Mann himself is particularly indulgent in his use of music in both his build-up to an excellently staged nightclub shootout and a particularly awful Audioslave intermission (that latter obsession unfortunately carried over into his next feature Miami Vice). That said, Collateral remains as slick-looking a film as you’ll see and was a great advertisement for digital video. Shot entirely on DV, Mann makes startlingly use of that medium’s ability to capture lowly lit exteriors both up close and especially from distance. The result: a night-time L.A. like we’ve never seen it. The actors are all on top form. Cruise has rarely been more interesting, Foxx is highly relatable as the every-man cabby, and Mark Ruffalo scores well as the undercover cop on their trail.  If you can suspend your disbelief during the last 15 minutes, you’ve got a solid thriller.

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