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I've seen this film a few times now. I quite enjoyed it the first time, as far as I can remember, but afterwards could not remember for the life of me what happened. The great thing about having forgotten what happened the first time is that I was as much in suspense second time around and while I recall certain memorable scenes, it was as if watching for the first time. Since then I haven't had a problem watching it again and still enjoyed it, as I have done again recently as it has come onto television.
Max is just an ordinary taxi driver, hoping one day to have his own limousine company and otherwise pretty happy with a simple life. Then he picks up Vincent, a hit-man, who is on his way to complete a list of murders, and before he knows it is caught up as a hostage, witness and reluctant accomplice to a series of killings. A life-loving person, can he stop the killings of a professional and will he survive the whole ordeal?
The story is fascinating. Not only is Max feeling the pressure of assisting in something horrific but finds his whole perception of life and its value challenged controversially by the philosophy of a killer who seems to show not an ounce or remorse or regard for his victims. Occasionally I found myself almost able to appreciate the idea of the insignificance of one individual person's life, and what a horrible thought that could be. However this is not a film designed for lots of in-depth analysis and insights but more a film about suspense and handling difficult situations.
The suspense is particularly strong for Max, because of course while he tries to think of a way to save the strangers that are Vincent's next victims, and get himself out of being involved in their deaths, he is under almost constant watch from Vincent and must keep taking instruction from him. He is slowly testing Vincent's patience and and it's this that really brings you to the edge of the seat, because how far can you push a cold-blooded killer before you become his next victim?
Tom Cruise is a much more sinister figure in this film than I have seen from him before. However, somehow his acting style only has quite subtle differences to other well-known films like Mission Impossible. I was quite impressed with him in this film as it showed that he is capable of more complex characters and can do more than run around with a gun looking sexy! Also because we usually expect him to turn around and do something heroic or show a little compassion or emotion (as a normally nice-guy actor), it hits that much harder when he does not.
Jamie Foxx was the taxi driver caught up in the chaos, just an ordinary guy in a terribly extraordinary situation. As the pressure increases, the intensity of Foxx's character starts to develop and we start to see he is capable than more than he realises. For survival's sake, he has to overcome his nerves and fears and blend into the criminal world. I felt quite nervous for him when I first watched this film, and still could appreciate the tensity after seeing the film a few times.
There are several other characters who connect to either Max or Vincent (or possibly both) and these people all have their own individual quirks. For instance, Max's unimpressed mother, a jazz artist, an attractive lawyer and a group of men that Max calls for help when Vincent momentarily leaves him alone.. Overall, performances are good and create a variety of intense and awkward scenes. All were very impressive in their own right and this did help to enhance my view of this film, if not great, at least very good
The film is filled with action scenes although nothing particularly clever or original. I think the focus is more on Vincent being a skillful killer than the car chases and explosions or gore of the actual killings. In fact the action scenes seem to end as quickly as they begin and you may just miss it if you are momentarily distracted.
The music and songs featured on the soundtrack all sound very up-to-date with a nice variety, particularly of rock music, but also a jazz club features and a nightclub so these add something different. I would say that it is more noticeable than usual when the music dies out and these scenes actually seem to be the more intense. Normally I'd say music is used to create the mood, but in this film it is actually the reverse and it's quite interesting to see that this actually works.
The film is rated as certificate 15. The main thing in this film is violence, and other than this I didn't feel there was any overuse of strong language and there were no sexual scenes, which is, frankly very refreshing. Also the film is exploring the concepts of the value of life and in so doing is actually trying to discourage violence, although I expect that with Tom Cruise's very cool nicely dressed, tough and probably dead rich character the film will not exactly put younger viewers off violent behaviour. How much films influence young people is a matter for debate and personal decision, but certainly I would think that under 15s should not be watching this sort of film. I don't think it is aimed at younger viewers as much as other films, given the amount of concentration often needed to follow what is going on in the film.
This is a film that will entertain but also make you think. I found it sometimes confusing to follow and the conclusive moments were so abrupt that I found myself waiting for something else to happen. You might be a little disappointed if you are looking for a good action film with car chases and gunfights. Yes, both feature, but they are nothing outstanding and it is probably just as well, because otherwise we'd pay less attention to the details and this would just be another action film.
As I say I have seen this film a few times. It was not particularly memorable first time around and I would not have missed anything amazing had I not bothered to see it again, but that said it's not a bad film and great when you are just looking for something a little more interesting and tense to watch. It will be on television again at some point, and whilst I do like a good Tom Cruise film, especially when he surprises us as he does in this film, I would not necessarily suggest spending money on this one.
If (like me) you've never been impressed by Tom Cruise's cheesy-grin, sofa-leaping persona, Collateral might just persuade you that he can act. Given a decent script, a director more interested in performance than star power and a strong lead opposite him, it seems Mr Cruise can come up with the goods after all.
That's because in Collateral, Cruise turns in an excellent performance as hit man Vincent. Flying into LA for one night to eliminate a number of targets as part of a contract he forces an unlucky cabbie to drive him around. It's a role to which Cruise proves surprisingly suited. Both chilling and charming; one minute he's perfectly, the epitome of calm professionalism, the next he's ruthlessly executing someone who poses a threat to completing his mission.
It's no surprise that Cruise can do charming - he's traded on that for most of his career. What's more surprising is how well he carries off the ruthless element. Thanks to some cracking early scenes and some strong acting, you genuinely believe that he will kill anyone who gets in his way. He resists some of the more obvious clichés that usually hamper Hollywood hit man and makes Vincent a very complex, nuanced character. Vincent is someone who does something very bad for a living but is not necessarily a very bad person.
It's helped that he is backed up by an equally strong performance by Jamie Foxx as cab driver, Max. Initially, Foxx's character appears somewhat clichéd. Establishing shots of Max talking with his passengers show him to be one of life's "nice guy losers", someone who has big plans and is determined to make himself a better life for himself, yet never quite gets there. His encounters with Vincent, however, lead him on an unlikely journey of self discovery; the defences he has built up around himself are slowly and ruthlessly stripped away by the hit man, revealing someone who never actually achieves anything, because his fear of failure is greater than his desire for success.
It's credit to both actors and the script writers that what could be walking cliché characters (charming hit man, "nice guy" taxi driver) actually prove to be so much more. As the film progresses, each reveals hidden depths and character traits you might not necessarily have expected to find when you first encountered them.
There are some obvious and silly flaws to the plot (why would a professional hit man rely on taxis?), but these are never serious enough to derail it completely. There are also some rather obvious and clunky plot developments. From the moment she gets into his cab, you know that Jada Pinkett-Smith's seemingly incidental character will have some wider relevance to the plot. And then there's that apparently random (and slightly contrived) conversation about a dead man riding the subway, unnoticed. Hmmm. I'll just bet that proves relevant later on. Yet, when you're watching it, these things don't matter. What's important is that actor and director alike establish a real rapport and maintain a convincingly tense atmosphere.
In terms of the basic plot, there are some inevitable comparisons to be made to the classic Taxi Driver and Director Michael Mann openly acknowledges this by building in a number of references to that film (Foxx talking to himself in front of the mirror is perhaps the best, if most, obvious example). Even in his directing style, Mann apes Scorcese's classic with lingering, artfully lit shots of LA's architecture, seen from both the taxi cab and above the city. These are effective in establishing a claustrophobic atmosphere which reflects Max's fears (he can see the wider city through his cab windows but is trapped in one very small part of it, reflecting his trapped existence). Yet, as ever Mann overuses them. At times, Collateral seems to be a love letter to LA, showing what a wonderful city it is and how much fantastic architecture it has. Inevitably, this has an impact on the pacing which will annoy some.
There's also no doubt that Collateral is going to be far too dull an experience for many viewers. For a film about a hit man, it proceeds at a very stately pace. But then this is not an action film, but a character driven one and if your prime motivation is to see lots of gruesome assassinations or running gun battles, then go and watch the awful Hit man. For the most part, and as befitting his character, Vincent dispatches his targets with ruthless efficiency, giving them no time to react; indeed, we don't even see some of the assassinations. Rather, the film concentrates on the characters, on gradually stripping away their defences so that their chance encounter leaves each of them both more vulnerable, yet at the same time stronger.
Sadly, this atmosphere is not sustainable for the whole film. In building to a climax, the action stakes are upped and contains the inevitable running gun battle, car crash and final show-down. It also means that the tension levels drop, and the film loses some of its vice-like grip on our attention. We yearn for a return to the claustrophobia of the cab interior, for the mental power struggle between Vincent and Max. We've seen all the action stuff before, and it's a shame Mann couldn't have found a more imaginative way to resolve the plot.
Generic ending aside, Collateral proves to be an interesting two-header between Cruise and Foxx that showcases some great acting talent. Cruise in particular was an eye-opener and his performance contributes in no small part to a fascinating and absorbing film. It's not necessarily one I'd recommend buying, but it's well worth a watch if it comes on TV and is even worth renting out if you've not yet seen it.
Director: Michael Mann
Running time: approx. 120 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2010
Although this film is a few years old now, I only got around to watching it recently, once again love film came to my rescue and filled in the Tom Cruise shaped gap.
Collateral was a huge film at the time of its release and saw Tom Cruise doing two very surprising things, firstly playing an older man, even donning silver/grey hair and secondly playing the part of the bad guy, something he rarely does.
The story is quite simple in that Tom Cruise plays Vincent, a suited and booted man who hails a taxi, outside LA airport, driven by Max, played by Jamie Foxx. Max is a hardworking taxi driver who is struggling to save money for his own business.
Vincent asks Max to drive him to several different different destinations and wait for him to do his 'business deal' before taking him onto the next stop on the list. This all seems fairly normal and above board, especially as Vincent proves to be a well spoken man. However at the first stop a man falls from two stories up to land dead on the bonnet of Max's taxi and when Max realises he was shot by Vincent he begins to see this will be no ordinary taxi ride for him.
Vincent, we soon realise, is a hit man hired by a big time criminal to kill several men who are all appearing as a witness in a trial against him. Meanwhile the cops have realised their star witnesses are all being picked off one by one and are on the case to try to find Max, who they mistakenly think is behind the killings.
Full of action and fast paced the story takes place in the space of a few hours and follows Vincent and Max through the journey to each stop. Max makes several attempts to escape along the way, and when he finally manages to separate from Vincent it is only in time to realise that the final person on the list is the lovely young woman Annie, played by Jada Pinkett-Smith, who he meets at the very start of the film and becomes enamoured with. It then becomes a race against time to get to Annie before Vincent does.
Although this isn't the best film I have ever seen, it was certainly enjoyable and full of enough action to keep me interested. Both Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx were excellent in it and it was especially nice to see Tom Cruise in such a different role.
When Michael Mann's on form he can create gritty, old-school crime thrillers better than most. He understands the value of good characters and likes to keep the camera close to them so that we are able to study, avidly, their interactions with one another (check the restaurant scene in Heat). He is also a very patient filmmaker -- despite having a career spanning thirty years, he's only made sixteen films, which is considerably lower than the average filmmaker. He takes his time developing his stories, with a great eye for detail, in a bid to develop tension and then enforce a sense of urgency as things come together towards the finale.
In Collateral, Mann is able to keep the viewer gripped for the duration of a two-hour long story thanks to his incredible sense of pacing. There are many things to enjoy here, including his stylistic digital cinematography, the seemingly-authentic action scenes that surprise and excite, Jamie Foxx's solid performance as an everyman-turned-hero cab driver, and even Tom Cruise's unthinkable performance as a cold-blooded killer.
The premise is a simple one: Cab driver Max (Foxx) is on the hunt for fares one night and unknowingly picks up a hitman (Cruise). Vincent, as he's called, offers to give Max $600 if he is willing to chauffeur him to various locations around L.A. so that he can meet a number of business clients. As we and Max soon find out, however, these "clients" are actually targets that Vincent has been contracted to kill by his superiors.
Conventionality is Mann's strong point. Forget cheap CGI explosions and gunfights that defy logic; the man behind the camera prefers to depict crime from the levels of realism and draw us into the frightening, yet intriguing, world that the main characters take stage upon. Through the use of digital video, Mann exposes the darkness and isolation of certain areas of the city, which feature apartments, hotels, nightclubs, offices and public transport facilities. There is a moody feel to everything, which reflects the frustrations belonging to cab driver Max after he is forced to drive Vincent around the city against his will.
The way the director shoots the characters is no less impressive. When Vincent takes down his targets we really feel the force that he pulls the trigger and the impact that the bullets have upon the flesh. The camera remains up close and personal with the characters throughout, detailing their facial expressions, making them feel very alive (or dead, coincidently). Particularly with Vincent, Mann wants us to get inside his mind to see what makes the soulless assassin tick.
On a related note, there is also a particularly memorable moment involving a coyote running across the road as the two leads are waiting at the traffic lights in the cab; with the technology being able to shoot in low-light, Mann was able to spontaneously capture the animal as it just happened to be passing by. We are also given the opportunity to study the faces of Vincent and Max in this scene as they look on to nature themselves. This is simply fascinating viewing.
Acting wise, it would seem that Mann definitely knows how to get the best out of his actors from the evidence here. Cruise gives easily one of the most memorable performances of his career as the killer: Dressed in a suit and with stubble and grey hair, he appears suave, though has a certain menace that we anticipate exploding into action at any moment (this is the one and only time thus far that I can say I respect Tom Cruise for his acting talents in a movie). Foxx, proving that his last outing (Ali) wasn't a one-off, gives an inspirational performance as the film's straight man fighting back against the manipulative hitman. Stuart Beattie's script must also be commended for creating such interesting characters for the lead actors to make the most of; it's so dramatic and so convincing to watch as Vincent and Max banter back and forth with one another as they venture to various spots in L.A.
The only thing slightly disappointing about Collateral is the inevitable showdown between Vincent and Max. The initial chase in the subway is intense, but as the characters eventually square off, face to face, with their guns pointing at one another, the whole thing feels rather tame and short lived in the end, and fails to do justice to the excellent build-up.
That said, Collateral is still an incredibly engaging movie that is right up there with the director's best work. Whether it be for the beautiful cinematography, the relentless action scenes, the excellent performances by Cruise and Foxx, or even the unexpected cameo/bit-part appearances of well-known actors/actresses such as Jason Statham, Barry "Shabaka" Henley, Mark Ruffalo and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Mann has made sure that there's always something interesting for us to look at here.
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note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Michael Mann may be best known for his stunning crime film Heat, but it is my opinion that his very best film came nine years later, in the superbly crafted Collateral, an immense and epic crime film that pairs two unlikely actors - at the time little-known Jamie Foxx (who recieved an Oscar nomination for his performance), and the momentous Tom Cruise (donning grey hair and all) - to make a compelling action film that's also an adroit meditation on life and death.
The film revolves around Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx), a down on his luck cabbie who is trying to save enough money to start up his own limousine company. One day, though, he takes a fare for businessman Vincent (Tom Cruise), a man who tells Max that he will pay him a large sum of money if he will take him to three stops hastily. Max agrees, but soon realises that something isn't right, and when a dead body falls onto his car, realises that Vincent is an assassin, who has three kills to make tonight to fulfil his contract. Max is in a tough bind because he doesn't want to help the murder, but of course values his own life, and so reluctantly goes along with it.
Collateral is an utterly superb thriller masterfully directed by Michael Mann, who makes great use of the digital technology that he has been championing in his recent films such as Miami Vice and Public Enemies. Cruise and Foxx both pull off amazing performances (Cruise even arriving at a career best), and play off each other like perhaps no pairing of 2004. Worth the price of admission for the club shootout alone.
Director: Michael Mann
Run Time: 120 mins
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'This is a collision of two lives... All collapsed in the events of one night... '
Michael Mann explored the night scenes to limit with this epic. Unquestionably riveting from the off; the scenes fill the air with night-time shifty-ness and blatant testosterone overload. Mann made it artistic, chic to the bone; an exploration of circumstances that catapult lives together, thrown to the mercy of fate.
There is a genre that Mann certainly can nail and that is 'crime' 'suspense' and I'm going to add artistic flair to the trio. Jamie Foxx with two exs, that's not a typo. Foxx got an award for his role as 'Max' the cabbie; a dreamer of Joseph Technicolor Coat variety except without Lloyd Webber's millions. Depicting the down trodden life's victims to a tee; Max would blend in well in a beige room; quietly spoken, articulated planner who tinkers with ideals that would make Gordon Brown look like Bill Gates. If, slow burner was handed out as a commodity, Max would have bathed in it, from when he was in his disposables. A cabbie for twelve years, still believing he was doing it temporary the character was built-up to the level that boredom was his middle name. Mann enriched the mood with a fascinating insight into Max and who was behind the glasses at the off. A clever piece of work, I'm sure Mann put together Blueberry to muffins. Can he cook I wonder.
LA is the place to film guys, though I hasten a guess that only a selected few Directors would be able to stitch together a mastery scenic lecture of the class of Mann. Visually breathe taking and dark, simplistic in narrative and executed as if his artistic license was at stake. Collateral was aptly used as a title and it can be diagnosed in other realms of daily life. I saw other meanings such as, the waste of life in war, the waste of life in work. By changing the pattern of the morose lifestyle, better patterns can occur. This is what Mann systematically asked questions about. - Mann's violent film 'Collateral' distorts values in this epic. He focuses on Max; swift snap-shots of character assassination that was forced upon him by Vincent played by 'Tom Cruise'. Initiated from when Vincent steps into Max's cab.
Collateral derived from Mann's earlier picture (Heat 1995) that plays with two extremes 'Good Cop', 'Bad Cop'. Mann's 2004 picture enrolls the same analogies. When two diverse characters are locked within the same time zone, with completely different agendas one night, both doing their job, except one is an assassin. I've only five stops to make, calling in at friends; quotes Vincent. Max still in dream-world after having dropped off sexy Annie Played by Jada Pinkett Smith in his cab flirting seductively with the mild mannered Max. Annie sealed their potential rendez vous off with giving Max her lawyer business card. He won't be just dreaming of that paradise island getaway anymore; no doubt it probably will be washed away by global warming by the time Max will be able to jet-set off having made his fortune at providing his rhetorical famous clientele lists an forgettable driving experience in his pipe dream 'luxury limos'.
Contorted with fear after the first drop of a male landing on his cab roof from a apartment block, Max realizes quickly what kind of route his night shift is going to take, either have a slug to his frontal lobe, or comply to Vincent's demands. Mad Vincent, Mann certainly had inscribed the audience with this artistic pun. His artistry with a magnum was precise, two to the chest one to the frontal lobe, to finish, all within a second, with marksman accuracy. Vincent smirks with passion at his own master works. 'God, I'm good!' After drawing quicker than Jesse James at a shoot off with two armed men in an alley. Fuelled with testosterone Vincent was doing his assassins work with pride, the same pride that Jamie Oliver would quip when opening up an oven, gleefully sniffing a hot-pot. - With the feds on their tail, Vincent knew that he had no time to spare before all his good work would be unraveled and his identity would be known; for Max it was a question of getting through the night, as his fear slowly became the norm. Eloquent, slick back grey haired Vincent, all suited and armed with a briefcase with all his hits on file; time management is the essence of professional trouble-shooting clearing the dead-wood for his client.
Enriched with profound normality and calmness on each assignment Vincent's philosophy deemed remarkably intrusive to Max, which on screen worked a treat. The partnership of Cruise and Foxx is symmetrically riveting, intense and even touched on compositional circumstances, similarly to 'Sliding Doors'. Small talks between Vincent and Max, in turn may the voyeur seem bemused with subjects like 'women' 'family life' and 'dreams and aspirations'. In normal film commodities the script would have been bland and even slightly inadequate', but Mann had built-up the intensity to such a level that the back of the cab twitter had a true edge of frankness, and was supremely executed. Foxx had a reward for his character of Max that I think was helped greatly by Cruises wonderfully crafted dominant force in Vincent. In the world of picture and professionalism, it surprised many film guru's Cruise didn't have the acclaim that his Vincent character deserved.
Foxx's role as Max elevated a passive nomad, who normally would shy away from discrepancies that life spouted at him. Vincent would just metaphorically shoot them down, without a murmur or bumbling words that would make his reactions none credible; this is notable through-out Mann's directorship. Without unleashing any spoilers, Vincent's charm and generosity shows a flip-side when visiting Max's Mother Ida (Irma P Hall) in hospital. Max who was sickened with disgust at Vincent's charisma and gentlemen grace with his own Mother, at last snapped. He snatched the briefcase and boldly risked life and limb to stop these contract killings, even though it was momentarily, Max was in control. To the point when the briefcase which contained all the 'hit logs' and information splattered on a highway, destroyed and impossible to reach. Here comes plan B; Vincent realizing he still needs Max, throws the plan to Max in a death riddled ploy to put all at risk.
Max has to confront Vincent's client Pedrosa (Bruce McGill) - Mann' nice piece of character assassination is evident when the old Max disperses and the bold and brave Max emerges with his strength and integrity in-place. Building on confidence that Vincent had forced upon him, Max had become immune to Vincent's threats and demands and in a twist of fate finds himself being the one able to change other peoples destiny's. The difference now is will good stop evil? - When it comes to the matters of the heart, even the aloofness members of society have an abundance of strong belief that surpasses all that they could dream of. Mann, on balanced enveloped a super piece of scenic back drops with clever character assassination plots. Collateral is simply produced without over elaborating on technical art in the editing suite or slipping too much in with the jazz. - One of the big films of the 2004 season, which reeked of cool genre hot-shot killer suspense pictures at the time, the main difference with Mann's Collateral is, it would make any cabbie wonder whether to get life insurance or not. - Watch-out for the twists and clever use of dialogue script. Mann is a fine artist when it comes to Directorship.
I always think it is such a shame that with mass media and tabloid culture, we get to see so much more 'personality' of Hollywood stars which we end up judging them on rather than their on screen personas. For me this, I'm ashamed to say, is very much the case for Tom Cruise who, with his sofa jumping antics and curious behaviour towards his daughter, irritates and perplexes. What I often forget and need reminding is that he is actually a fine actor and thankfully, Collateral does just this and affirms that Cruise is still (well, still 5 years ago) one of Hollywood's best.
The story is simple: Vincent (Cruise) is a hit man who hitches a ride with unsuspecting cabbie Max (Jamie Foxx) for a drop and wait job. Max soon realises Vincent's task and is stuck with the passenger from hell.
Directed by Michael Mann, this is a typically stylish and tense thriller. Mann directs with great dexterity creating a brooding and dark atmosphere and gets fine performances from both Cruise and Foxx. Cruise is genuinely menacing as the hit man but comes across as being somewhat trustworthy. You end up liking him despite his killings, mostly perhaps for his loyalty towards Max.
Foxx, for a comic, plays straight exceptionally well as he has proven time and time again. Here again is no exception. Although not an Academy worthy performance, he is solid and personable in the role and delivers the right amount of pathos.
This is a very good thriller and a great addition to Mann, Cruise and Foxx's catalogue.
Writer: Stuart Beattie
Dir.: Michael Mann
Tom Cruise - Vincent
Jamie Foxx - Max
Jada Pinkett Smith - Annie
Mark Ruffalo - Fanning
Max, a cab driver in Los Angeles, picks up a passenger, Vincent, who hires Max to drive for him the rest of the evening while he makes several stops. Unfortunately for Max, Vincent is a hired killer and has just tangled Max up in his crimes.
Max, fearing for his life, helps Vincent throughout the night until he discovers that Vincent's last target is Annie, a woman that Max recently met and has feelings for.
Will Max be able to get there in time to stop Vincent and save Annie, or will they both become Vincent's targets?
This is a very good movie. There's a lot of drama and a lot of action.
The story is very well written and the film is excellently directed.
This, in my opinion, is one of Tom Cruise's best roles yet. He plays so well this cold calculated killer that you forget that you're actually watching Tom Cruise. Plus, the gray hair and the short, gray stubbly beard is such a different look for him, but it kind of works for him.
Jamie Foxx is excellent as the timid and unwilling cabdriver. He is scared and hesitant throughout the movie, but tries to play the hero when he has to.
Even Jada Pinkett Smith, who I am not a fan of, is cute and likable in her small role.
All in all, this is a great movie all the way around and I would definitely recommend it to all.
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Now, I know quite a few people who would say it would make thier day for Tom Cruise to step into the back of their car and want to spend the night with them but when he is in the role of Vincent in the movie Collateral then it's a bit of a different sitaution.
The word Collateral actually means a security or guarantee usually an asset and this is what Vincent uses the taxi driver Max for.
Collateral is a 2004 movie staring Tom Cruise as Vincent. It was a completely different role for Tom Cruise and one that I thought he played exceptionally well. Usually Tom stars as the cute, sexy one (think Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, etc) but in this movie he plays the baddie and he is actually really scary. It's quite a violent film and he does gun down quite a few people so it's strange to see him in this kind of role. He puts on a kind of almost trance like persona where he is totally in the character and focused on the mission he has to achieve and its his eyes that are actually quite scary and vivid.
The basic plot of the movie is as such. Vincent is a hitman and he is in Los Angeles to murder five people before departing in the morning. Unfortunately for Max the taxi driver he picks up Vincent at the airport totally unaware of his sinister plot. Vincent is played by Jaime Foxx who in my opinion also puts in a good performance. Jaime is usually quite good looking in films but he has been dressed down in this film to look a bit dowdy and ordinary which he does. In fact Jamie Foxxx got nominated for a 2005 Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role but unfortunately did not win. Max soon finds out what Vincent is up to when a dead body that Vincent has just killed lands on the roof of his cab. By this point Max is stuck and cannot escape from Vincent and is forced to drive him around to commit all his murders.
I actually found this movie quite intense and scary. Imagine being stuck in a situation like that and not being able to escape. A few times Max thinks he has been able to get away but there is Vincent ready to take him back again. There are a couple of scenes that really make you jump and I like thrillers like that.
The taxi the two are riding in is driven about the streets of Los Angeles at night time and I loved some of these scenes. Downtown LA at night is really quite bright and interesting with all the lights and crazy people and some of the streets are really excellent for driving along as they are quite steep and wide and definitely provide a great track for escaping from police. According to an article I read, "The film was voted as the 9th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience."
The film has grossed a worldwide total of $217,764,291 million.
I think Collateral is quite an underrated movie released in 2004, starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
What I liked the most about this movie was the way the plot unfolds and how the characters are introduced to the viewer. Foxx, plays Max, a taxi driver who picks up Vincent (Cruise) and everything seems very normal. However, Max finds out what Vincent is using him for and his morals get in the way. The movie develops as a fight between the two and an interesting relationship from start to finish.
Both performances are fantastic, especially cruise, who plays the bad guy to perfection. This is surprising considering his usual roles. It's refreshing, if anything, to see him away from over-the-top explosions in Mission Impossible and in a movie which is more complicated and developed, requiring a higher standard of acting.
Although Vincent is the "bad guy" and Max is the "good guy", Beattie and Mann do a good job of finding similarities between the two and although they are very different, they are closer in personanlity than either may have expected.
The ending is great, which as I always say, is the hardest part to be successful in. You won't be disappointed by that.
Overall, it's an excellent movie with Cruise nearly as impressive as when he stars in Vanilla Sky.
Collateral was a welcome return for Michael Mann to the genre which established him as one of America's leading directors - the thriller genre. Collateral, filmed with the same gritty realism as Heat, is about a hit man played by Tom Cruise (and brilliantly, I might add) who enlists the unwitting services of a New York taxi driver (Jamie Foxx) in a round trip around the Big Apple upon which he plans to murder his way down a list of criminals, cops, lawyers, and witnesses who are planning to put his employer in jail. However, Jamie Foxx's character proves to be a good match for the smooth hit man and it quickly turns into a cat and mouse battle for survival.
Full of unpredictable twists and turns, with an absolutely superb performance by Tom Cruise holding the whole thing together (people forget how good an actor he is), Collateral marks a welcome return to form for Michael Mann, and is thoroughly recommended.
Collateral is the 2004 film directed by Michael Mann
Max is a taxi driver who has the dream of setting up his own limousine business. One night, he sparks up a conversation with his fare, Annie. She tells him that she is a lawyer, and that she is currently working on an important case. After dropping her off, he forgets about her, and picks up his next fare, Vincent. What he doesn't know is that Vincent is a 'Hitman', and has been assigned the task of killing the prosecution team in a current court case. Vincent, happy with the speed he has arrived at his destination, offers to hire Max had his personal chauffeur for the night. Max agrees but is unaware of who Vincent is and what he does, until during the first 'Hit'. A body lands on his taxi, and Vincent explains. Max is then roped into driving him around all night to his kill destinations. Max tries a couple of times to stop him, but with no avail, until he realises that Annie is on Vincent's list of people to kill. It is up to Max to stop Vincent, while the police, led by Detective Fanning, also try to stop the killer before he wipes out the entire prosecution for the next days case.
* Tom Cruise as Vincent,
* Jamie Foxx as Max Durocher,
* Jada Pinkett Smith as Annie,
* Irma P. Hall as Ida,
* Barry Shabaka Henley as Daniel
* Bruce McGill as Pedrosa, an FBI agent watching Felix
* Emilio Rivera as Paco
* Mark Ruffalo as Fanning, an LAPD Detective
* Peter Berg as Richard Weidner, a LAPD Detective
* Javier Bardem as Felix,
A really imaginative storyline. The idea of following the actual Hitman as well as the police offers more ways to immerse yourself in to the film. It also allows you to view the same storyline through multiple view points, which makes you concentrate more on the film. The acting from Foxx and Cruise is great, which obviously helps the film, but the rest of the cast does little to raise the film up to another level. This doesn't really matter too much though, as Foxx and Cruise are the only two actors who really impact on the film. The action scenes are OK, but are built up well with suspense. They also seamlessly integrate into the story, which helps the film not to become 'Chunky'.
DVD price: 5.00 (1 disc and 2 disc special edition)
A unique film that is extremely well directed/produced.
Collateral is directed by well known director Michael Mann who has directed many other excellent films such as: Ali, The Insider, Heat and Last of the Mohicans. I became to know of him as a director through my Dad as he has many of his films.
When I heard of collateral I was eager to see it as it had great reviews and I am a fan of thrillers which this film is. Starring in collateral is Tom Cruise who plays Vincent, Jamie Foxx who plays Max and Jada Pinkett Smith who plays Annie.
A contract killer uses a cab to carry out a series of contract hits in a single night. The cab driver is Max, who quickly learns that his passenger Vincent, is a contract killer. Max's situation then turns into a series of escape attempts and decisions. Faced with no other options, Max is forced to drive him around the city. Eventually, Max realizes that the marks are witnesses for the prosecution in a court case against a crime boss. Max must find a way to save himself and the last victim while a police detective is on Vincent's trail. However, the police believe that Max is the contract killer.
Why I Chose To Review This
Collateral is an excellent thriller with many surprises throughout the film. I find Collateral a very interesting film and highly enjoyable at the same time and for this very reason I have decided to review it closely paying particular attention to the development of one character and the contrast between two of the characters in the film.
Character Of Max
We are introduced to Max (Jamie Foxx) as he starts his shift as a cab driver in Los Angeles. Max has the cleanest cab in town as it is one of the things that he prides himself on. It is also one of the things that makes him unique to all other cab drivers in the city. His first ride is a lawyer, Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), through the conversation between these two characters, we are shown that Max is a caring man with big hopes and dreams for the future. This film features a very slick script thats clever and witty;
Max - "How do you like being a lawyer"
Annie - "What are you, psychic"
Max - "Little bit. There's the dark pin-stripe suit, elegant, not too flashy, that rules out advertising, plus a top-drawer briefcase that you live out of. And the purse. A Bottega. Anyway, a man gets in my cab with a sword, I figure he's a sushi chef. You Clarence Darrow."
This quote shows instant chemistry between the two characters which makes for a friendly relationship in the film.
We also learn that Max has plans for putting together a limousine company called Island Limos in the future. We are aware of these plans due to the props in his taxi one of these being a gorgeous picture of an island. Annie and Max build up a friendly relationship in this scene and seem to take to each other well. When Annie leaves the cab she rushes back to give Max her business card as she is worried she will never see him again. I find this a very chilled scene which is created through use of soundtrack and lighting. I also found from watching this scene that a real sense of harmony is created by the nice slow, easy listening music and the warm soft glow of lights used both in the cab and outside in the streets.
Character Of Vincent
In complete contrast to Max is Vincent (Tom Cruise). We are easily shown this contrast by the clothes he is wearing: A smart grey and very cold looking business suit, and a nice dark pair of shades. The suitcase that he carrys shows us that he has an important profession which we are not yet aware of.
When Max and Vincent first meet everything seems normal and Vincent offers Max a deal he cant refuse. Vincent makes out that he needs to meet some friends and sign papers before getting next day flight out of Los Angeles. He offers Max $600 if he stays with him through the night. Max accepts the deal not knowing what is going to happen through the rest of the night. By Max accepting the deal we are shown that he has a strong desire to make money.
However, when a body lands on the roof of Max's cab while he is waiting for Vincent, Max realises that Vincent is in fact a contract killer. He gets held hostage by Vincent and is forced to drive Vincent around the city so he can execute the people he needs to. At this point in the film Max is shown to be extremely weak and vulnerable. We are shown this through use of close ups on his facial expressions, body language and speech as Max stutters a lot. There is many extreme close ups used to show the fear in him, also it keeps the tension present during the scene.
Contrasting Views (Max and Vincent)
Later on in the film, contrast is shown again through the views Max and Vincent have on life. Max is a hopeful person who always look to the future, but has not realised his dream even though he has been working towards it for some time, however Vincent is the complete opposite. Vincent's view on life becomes even clearer after he kills an innocent policeman. "That's the why, there's no reason. No good reasons, no bad reasons, you live or die. There are millions of galaxies with hundreds of millions of stars and we're a speck on one. In a blink. That's us, lost in space." This quote by Vincent shows us again how he seems to have no feeling about killing people. To Vincent it's just a job.
Character Development Of Max
As the film continues we are shown Max becoming a much stronger character than he was when the film started. We can see this by the way he talks to Vincent and by the way he drives the cab. He begins to take action. In one scene he drives well over the speed limit and speeds through many red lights. The camera does many close-ups on both Max and Vincent's face to show their feelings. We are shown many extreme close up, close ups and a few medium shots showing the cab going through the streets. Max appears to have lost it as the close ups are showing sweat and his frenzied eyes. We are shown this by close ups of his frenzied eyes and his sweat. And for the first time in this film Vincent appears to be scared due to the speed max is driving and the way he is disregarding everything else. We can easily see that Vincent is scared due to the close ups on his face and his eyes Max then deliberately crashes the cab as he believes nothing matters anymore.
They both survive, Vincent stumbles out and continues on to his final hit. Max quickly realises by the information he finds on Vincent's laptop that the final hit is Annie. This forces max to change his views and forces him to save her due to the relationship these characters built up earlier in the film. In this point in the film you can see how strong a character Max has become as he is risking his own life to save Annie.
Max manages to save Annie by getting her onto a train in a subway. They both believe they have escaped from Vincent, however they are wrong as he managed to get on from the back of the train. Max and Annie continue to move through the separate parts of train until coming to the end with Vincent chasing after them. Lights then go out and Max and Vincent continually shoot at each other. Max closes his eyes at this part as he believes he is going to die.
After the shooting stops we are shown to believe Max is dying by his facial expression, the close ups on his face are showing fear, panic, and anger. However Vincent got a severe shot in his chest. Vincent knows he is about to die so he stops and sits down. He slowly dies which brings about the end of the film.
My Personal Opinion
Collateral still remains one of my favourite films as it was very well done. I loved the soundtrack and think It went very well with this film, also the acting was great and the camera shots were very well filmed especially some of the aerial views we are given throughout the film.
To me it's one of those films were after its finished it still leaves you thinking about various things which happened in it which in turn makes you want to go back and watch it. I also thought it was a great film to study and I would recommend people to watch this film if they get the chance to do so.
Thanks For Reading
Total Runtime - 120 min
Certified - 15
Rated 7.8/10 Based On 86,157 votes - IMDB
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 11 wins & 36 nominations
Iain Geddes - 15th Feb 2009
Collateral (FILM ONLY REVIEW)
Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Stuart Beattie
Release Date: 17 September 2004 (UK)
Runtime: 120 minutes
Certificate: R (USA) /15 (UK & Ireland)
Vincent - Tom Cruise
Max - Jamie Foxx
Annie - Jada Pinkett Smith
Fanning - Mark Ruffalo
Ida - Irma P Hall
If you are making a film and Tom Cruise is your star, the chances are it is going to do well no matter how bad it is; then again, if you are making a film and Tom Cruise is your star, the chances are that you are making something pretty special to begin with, given his ability to cherry pick roles. One aspect that seems key to Cruise's choice of roles is the director he will be working with, in the case of "Collateral" Michael Mann, and this film is very much about the pairing between Cruise and Mann. Add in the effective performance from the film's other big name, Jamie Foxx, and you have something with so much potential that it is quite easy to overlook how contrived the premise is.
Taking place over one night in Los Angeles, "Collateral" turns the sunny Californian city we often see in Hollywood movies into a seedy nocturnal concrete sprawl. We start the evening in the company of Max (Jamie Foxx), an honest and highly professional taxi driver of 12 years' standing who dreams of one day opening his own limo business. After a disagreement with an attractive passenger called Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) over the quickest route to take to the airport, he strikes up an unlikely bond that leads to him being given her phone number at the end of the journey. But before he can revel in his good fortune for too long, however, Max finds he has a new passenger who has just arrived in the city. The elegantly attired businessman who glides into his taxi puts an interesting proposition to Max: he becomes his personal chauffer for the night, driving him between the five business meetings he needs to attend before catching a dawn flight out of the city, and he will pay him a not inconsiderable bonus on top of his regular fare. As the extra money will go towards funding his dream, Max puts his doubts aside and agrees to take on this job. There is only one problem, however. This businessman is Vincent (Tom Cruise), a hitman whose "meetings" are with five people involved in a high profile trial of a major player. Only when the first hit gets messy and the body falls out of an apartment window and lands on top of Max's cab does the realisation of what his unusual deal involves hits home. Honest Max panics and insists on calling the police, something Vincent naturally does not encourage. However, as Max now knows far too much about the hitman, this leaves Vincent with two options: kill Max as well, or force him at gunpoint to remain his driver for the night. Given that Max is a very good driver and Vincent is a stranger to the city, this realistically only leaves option two if he is to complete his contract on time, so Max unwittingly becomes an accomplice to Vincent's crimes. The two of them hurriedly clean up the scene and the car and head for hit number two - but it is not long before the police, lead by Detective Fanning (Mark Ruffalo), find the first crime scene and head off in pursuit of them.
"Collateral" is an edgy, superior thriller that engages your attention well throughout. While its plotline may seem deceptively simple, it is actually a very efficient story that allows Mann to spend his time focussing on his characters and settings, and developing the relationship between Vincent and Max. To me, this film seemed to play like "Phone Booth" in a taxi. In both cases we have a hostage situation in a very confined space, and the police wrongly identify the hostage as the criminal; for all his dogged pursuit and hard work, Fanning spends a good deal of the film thinking that Max is his killer. Where "Phone Booth" gets a bit silly towards the end though, this film instead builds up to a somewhat predictable - but highly exciting and enjoyable - climax.
The acting throughout was impressive, and it is worth watching just to see Tom Cruise finally turn into a bad guy. Distinctively coiffured with grey highlights that match his suit, Cruise's Vincent appears as stone cold on the outside as he is on the inside, and he appeared to enjoy playing against type in this role. Foxx was also good as the honest everyman experiencing the most terrifying night of his life. The action sequences are well choreographed and refreshingly realistic. While we don't see all of Vincent's work in gory detail - the camera instead preferring to linger on Max's predicament while Vincent disappears into a building to conclude his "meeting" - the action that we do see lacks Hollywood's frequent tendency to glamorise violence, and people around act like normal people, panicking when a gunshot goes off. A scene I especially liked was when Max, in a desperate attempt to stop one of Vincent's hits, picks up a pavement bin and hurls it at a glass door to try and break in to the building he has seen the hitman enter. In most Hollywood films, this would have worked smoothly and Max would just have strolled coolly in. Here however, the bin bounces back off the toughened glass as it would do in real life, leaving Max looking rather stupid - little things like that add to the believability of what could have been a highly unbelievable film.
That said, one point did stretch my credulity just a little. In one scene, Max admits to Vincent that his usual routine for a night involved paying a visit to his hospitalised mother Ida (Irma P Hall); apparently eager to avoid doing anything that would flag Max's night up as suspicious or out of the ordinary, Vincent insists that they include a visit to Ida in their schedule. To me, this just seems odd, and out of character for Max. By this point he knows perfectly well what Vincent is like, so why would he risk getting his mother involved? Why not lie to Vincent and say he wasn't expected anywhere that night? As honest as Max is, I would have thought that he would lie to protect his family. Although there does seem to be an ultimate purpose for this plot point (which I won't spoil here), it was just too contrived for my liking - I'm sure Mann could have found a more plausible approach to get the same result.
I have heard this film called a masterpiece; personally, I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly is a very good film and worth watching if you get the chance. The plot template it follows is nothing new, but it is very stylishly done and has a contemporary feel to it than I think fans of this type of thriller will enjoy. Even in its quieter patches, Cruise's compellingly ice cold villain made this film watchable, and I enjoyed it far more than I initially expected to. I don't think it would stand up well to a second viewing, but anyone in search of a good action thriller could do far worse than "Collateral".