Collateral is a drama/thriller set in Los Angeles directed by Michael Mann and stars Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2005 Academy Awards.
The film follows a taxi driver named Max(Foxx) through what he believes to be a typical night of work. He starts off by driving a beautiful U.S. prosecutor, Annie Farrell(Jada Pinkett-Smith). She talks to him about a big case that she is working on and the stress that comes with it. She gets out of his cab and gives him her business card. Max then picks up a man named Vincent, who was seen earlier in the film exchanging luggage with another man. Max takes Vincent to his destination, Vincent was impressed with his efficiency and offers Max $700 if Max will be his personal chauffer for the night. Max reluctantly accepts the offer and waits for Vincent outside in his cab. Max is eating a sandwich and looking at a magazine when a body of a man falls onto the roof of his cab. Max obviously freaks out and jumps out of the cab. Vincent runs out of the building and sees Max standing outside the cab looking at the body. This is where one of my favorite lines of the movie occurs. Max says to Vincent, “You killed him?” Then Vincent says, “No, I shot him. The bullets and the fall killed him.” Max and Vincent put the body in the trunk of the cab and the two get back in the cab. Vincent tells Max that he is a hitman and is in Los Angeles to kill 5 people and he wants Max to drive him to the jobs. Many interesting things happen to these two throughout the night and there are many twists to the film that keep you guessing and wondering what is going to happen next. Does Max make it through the night alive? Does Vincent complete all of the jobs? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.
One of the main things that stand out for me in this film is the acting. You can definately see and understand why Jamie Foxx would have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor in this film. He was dramatic while staying convincing and involving. The performance that stood out for me though was Tom Cruise. I’ve not always been the biggest fan of Tom Cruise, but this was a role that we haven’t seen him do before. Vincent is a character that you want to hate so bad because of the person that he is, yet he is so likeable as well. That’s what I feel Tom Cruise did the best, he took a character that should not be liked and makes him likeable. He was believable, even though it was hard to see Tom Cruise being this character. Throughout the film you will also see some good actors in small parts that do stand out. In particular, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Javier Bardem, and Mark Ruffalo. They are actors that show that they don’t need the spotlight to do a great job.
Another aspect of the film that I found appreciation in was the way Michael Mann put the film together. Normally with a film like this a director will just throw out nothing but action and not put much emphasis on character development or not use dialogue the way it should be used. Basically this film is about the conversation between a taxi driver and one of his fares that happens to be a hitman. But in between different conversations they have Vincent is killing people and they get into situations that you aren’t sure they will be able to get out of. Michael Mann mixed action and used a lot of dialogue that made you grow closer to the characters.
This is a film that I really enjoyed the first time I watched it and every time since I watched it. The acting in the film was superb from the main two actors all the way down to the supporting actors. Most people didn’t like Tom Cruise’s performance in this film but I think it’s one of his best performances to date. Michael Mann did a fantastic job with the script and with character development. About the only thing I could say bad about the film is at the end. I can’t give my reasoning behind it because it will give away the ending. But, if you have watched the film chances are you know what I’m talking about. I would recommend this film to anyone that loves thrillers. It’s not a typical thriller as it does contain a lot of dialogue and isn’t all out action, it does contain substance.