With an interesting premise, highly packed content and a big star cast it starts off light and easy but doesn't hold enough grip to hold the audience.
The storyline sounds boring. A one-night road trip of two guys? How much drama can you pack in? I was rather doubtful. But I go ahead since it is made by Michael Mann and stars Tom Cruise.
I always find Mr Cruise is a very hardworking actor. His commitment to his profession is evident. He is really good in the show. Not that he plays a bad guy but he comes across convincingly as a seeming cold-blooded killer with some humanity. Jamie Foxx is surprisingly very good, almost stealing the show just by playing a good guy. I can imagine Denzel Washington playing his role but Jamie is just as fine.
What I like most about the movie is that I believe it is shot using a handycam. But the film is processed so professionally that it ends up looking neither like a home video nor what we usually see in a movie. It gives a rather refreshing visual experience.
The script is cleverly written, posing many thought-provoking questions. Is it pathetic if we hold to a dream that takes years and years to fulfill? Is it worth going against your conscience to earn some big bucks? How much courage a cab driver needs to like a lawyer and go all out for her? Is there a difference between a killer and a war or a massacre? And what really a man's death amount to in a city void of feelings?
Expected Rating: B+
Where do I god damn begin with this film? It is awesome, amazing, inventive and I highly, highly recommend it. All the performances are great, the story is riveting, the cinematography is out of this world; it is a masterpiece, plain and simple. I've only watched this film once but I am sure it will be just as riveting(if not more) with multiple re-watches and thus I intend to obtain the film as soon as possible. I've given my first impressions, let me go in depth.
The story. The god damn story. It is excellent, genius writing and I loved it. Collateral is two movies in one. It is a tight, claustrophobic thriller between Vincent and Max while in the Cab, and the interplay between these two powerhouse performances is phenomenal. It is also a open thriller in the streets of Los Angeles, where Vincent is doing his thing. Both of these movies combine together to make one utter masterpiece of a script. I cannot praise it enough. The dialogue between the characters is fantastic. And the ending.
The ending to this movie is one of the best ending I've seen in a long time. There is no dramatic twist. There is no shocking revelation. It is a pure, unfiltered clash of ideas between the main characters. I cannot flaw the last moments of the film; my jaw was on the floor for them. The buildup to these moments was genuinely terrifying and you have no clue what will happen. Truly an excellent screenplay - thank you Mann, Beatie and Loeb.
Jamie Foxx has proved he can be a brilliant actor when given the right material. This movie has allowed me to forgive him for Electro. He is THAT good in this movie. He 100% deserved that Oscar nomination, he was brilliant in this movie. I'll also briefly comment on Max, our protagonist. Max isn't an ex-SAS soldier, he isn't a superhero, he isn't the best at anything - he is a normal cab driver and that is what makes his character so enjoyable to watch. Over the course of a single night, we watch how he changes and evolves and how he does what he must to survive. It is a fantastic portrayal of what someone will do when pushed to the edge and he is genuinely a brilliant character.
Tom Cruise. Two words that let me know I will probably at least enjoy a movie. And he steals the show. It hurts me he wasn't nominated for an Oscar because this is, for me, one of his best performances he has ever given. Cruise never plays a villain and has always been typecast as the charismatic, charming hero. Not here. He is charismatic but certainly not charming. He is ruthless, cold blooded and, surprisingly, Cruise sells this role expertly. I can not envision another human in the role of Vincent because Cruise was just that great in the role. Cold, Calculating, brilliant. Three words to describe him.
Some comments about Vincent as a character. As previously stated, we rarely see Cruise portray a villain. Vincent is the type of villain that starts of as likable and calm but slowly devolves into a true cold blooded killer. Vincent is relentless in this movie and that makes him genuinely terrifying. He will not stop, he has no remorse, he feels no emotion; he is The Cruisinator.
Jada Pinkett Smith was perfectly adequate as Annie and I definitely bought the evolution of her relationship with Max. Overall a well done character but I don't know if she was 100% necessary to the movie. Probably just my opinion though.
Mark Ruffallo's performance as Fanning also goes under the radar for many people in this movie which I think is wrong. Ruffallo gives a solid performance as Fanning and I was actually interested in what was happening when he was on screen.
The cinematography in this movie could warrant 1000 words in and of itself so I will keep this pretty brief. Cinematography in this movie is beautiful. It is masterfully shot and edited and it is should be retroactively awarded an Oscar for Best Cinematography. Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron deserve at least that much for their masterfully crafted camera-work. It is truly exceptional how this movie is shot and directed. Visually stunning does not even quite cover it.
This movie also has a great score, in case you were wondering.
I mean if I haven't convinced you to go watch Collateral yet, I don't know what will. It is a great action movie. It is a fantastic thriller. It is a testament to how excellent movies are made and how movies should be shot. Don't delay seeing this movie any longer, you'll be glad you saw it. I'll rate this movie a flawless rating of 10 Cruisinators out of 10.