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Collateral (Two-Disc Special Edition) (2004)

Action & Adventure and African American Cinema movie directed by Michael Mann

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A pshychological film that soars upon the wings of its male leads

  • Sep 24, 2010
Rating:
+5
Like good jazz Collateral is able to quietly move into your head before washing you away in an ocean of smooth chaos. A tale of two men from two separate backgrounds meet one night in this dreary character-study in a night that will leave both changed forever. The movie begins with a shady character exchanging briefcases in an airport. Afterward we are suddenly thrown into a seemingly separate movie. We are now transported into the life of taxi driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx), a gentle, soft-spoken man with big ambitions. He meets a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor by the name of Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) who needs a ride. Not one to pass a pretty lady by he stops for her and shares a moving exchange of words; not Hollywood flirting, but natural conversation that shows two people connecting in a way few people are capable.

After dropping the prosecutor off Max receives another passenger... Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a grey haired, grey suit wearing man whose natural charm is radiant. He requests that Max take him on five stops to visit some friends and to get him back to LAX airport by the end. Max cites regulation, but when Vincent flashes six crisp hundred dollar bills he decides to make an exception. But after the first drop off Vincent's profession is made clear when a corpse falls atop Max's cab. Unable to escape Max is taken along for the ride as Vincent continues his job with professional precision.

In this journey both men will learn from each other in this trek through the underbelly of Los Angeles.

Director Michael Mann has created a tight thriller with equally award-worthy performances from his two leading men. This isn't a crime movie with good guys and bad guys. Collateral is a movie about people who do what is natural to them and actually have feelings. Cruise is not some sort of post-Tarantino hit man who talks casually like the job is no big deal. He operates with expert precision and knows the requirements of his job, but he doesn't do it out of pleasure, or amusement. No, Vincent does it because killing is his job...but he never seems to enjoy his line of work. His charisma and enthusiasm reflects that of the taxi driver played by Jamie Foxx who has been stuck in his boring job for twelve years and as such as a soft, kind speaking tone, but he lets people walk all-over him. Both characters have something to learn from the other and that only makes their conversations more compelling to an audience.

Mann drives a tight movie which explores the bad along with the good of each of its characters. The violence is swift and sudden and will take an audience's breath away, but most of the film's brilliance is within its dialogue. The final action scenes are well filmed and suspenseful, but I was left wishing for more conversations between Max and Vincent. A film like this is a mixed bag in this aspect seeing as it seemed incapable of deciding on action, thriller, or drama. The action and thriller aspects of it are good, but what makes this film great is entirely rested in the performances of Cruise and Foxx.

9/10 Stars

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More Collateral (Two-Disc Special E... reviews
review by . March 24, 2010
Like good jazz Collateral is able to quietly move into your head before washing you away in an ocean of smooth chaos. A tale of two men from two separate backgrounds meet one night in this dreary character-study in a night that will leave both changed forever. The movie begins with a shady character exchanging briefcases in an airport. Afterward we are suddenly thrown into a seemingly separate movie. We are now transported into the life of taxi driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx), a gentle, soft-spoken …
review by . January 01, 2005
This movie has it all. Great acting, superb camera work, terrific directing, great storyline .... Hey, the list goes on and on. This is one of the few thrillers to enjoy again and again. There's always something new to discover, even when you know the story by heart. Buy it!
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   I'm an aspiring filmmaker who loves the crafts of the cinema. I write reviews as a side hobby.
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Collateraloffers a change of pace for Tom Cruise as a ruthless contract killer, but that's just one of many reasons to recommend this well-crafted thriller. It's from Michael Mann, after all, and the director's stellar track record with crime thrillers (Thief,Manhunter, and especiallyHeat) guarantees a rich combination of intelligent plotting, well-drawn characters, and escalating tension, beginning here when icy hit-man Vincent (Cruise) recruits cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) to drive him through a nocturnal tour of Los Angeles, during which he will execute five people in a 10-hour spree. While Stuart Beattie's screenplay deftly combines intimate character study with raw bursts of action (in keeping with Mann's directorial trademark), Foxx does the best work of his career to date (between his excellent performance inAliand his title-role showcase inRay), and Cruise is fiercely convincing as an ultra-disciplined sociopath. Jada Pinkett-Smith rises above the limitations of a supporting role, and Mann directs with the confidence of a master, turning L.A. into a third major character (much as it was in the Mann-produced TV seriesRobbery Homicide Division).Collateralis a bit slow at first, but as it develops subtle themes of elusive dreams and lives on the edge, it shifts into overdrive and races, with breathtaking precision, toward a nail-biting climax.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Michael Mann
Screen Writer: Stuart Beattie
DVD Release Date: December 14, 2004
Runtime: 120 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Video
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