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Collateral

August 25, 2010

Collateral (2004)
Director: Michael Mann
Actors: Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Jada Pinkett Smith

Jamie-Foxx-Defends-Collateral-Co-Star-Tom-Cruise-2.jpg (240×158)

Synopsis: Vincent (Tom Cruise), a professional assassin spending a night in LA to carry out some contract killings, commandeers a taxi and its driver, Max (Jamie Foxx).

Review: This is archetypal Michael Mann fare – an existential urban thriller – pared down to its barest of premises: a good-guy cabbie having to deal with the chaos that ensues from his enforced client, a nihilistic assassin, who is on a killing-spree through nocturnal LA.

As a thriller, the film is arguably too schematic: excellent in its opening and final thirds where the premise is introduced and concluded, but slightly slow and plodding in the middle-section. Some contrivances also push narrative credibility to the limit – in particular when Jamie Foxx’s cabbie has to take hitman Tom Cruise to see his mother in hospital – though one of the film’s saving graces is the immense charisma the two actors bring to their respective roles, and the relative credibility of their relationship which in lesser hands could have appeared totally unrealistic and farcical. As a philosophical movie, Mann has probably produced grander work in the likes of Heat and The Insider, but as a beautiful, digital ode to a contemporary American metropolis, Collateral could have its most salient calling-card. (December 2005)

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