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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 24.47%
Worth A Look40.43%
Just Average: 16.49%
Pretty Crappy: 14.36%
Sucks: 4.26%

15 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Collateral
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by Luke Pyzik

"A solid thriller that is a bit too conventional for its own good"
3 stars

No one shoots a close up like Michael Mann. As a director known for capturing the gritty feel of Los Angeles, it often goes unnoticed how well he tells his stories through facial expressions. Consider his films "The Insider" and "Heat," where the tortured faces of Russell Crowe and Al Pacino are consistently captured in Mann’s uniquely composed extreme close ups. Perhaps it is the juxtaposition of these close ups with the vast exterior shots of the city that has earned Mann his reputation for turning Los Angeles into a living, breathing character.

"Collateral" follows a similar visual structure, but this time Mann shoots in high definition video, adding a certain sense of immediacy and an extra layer of grittiness. The film takes place over one night in Los Angeles, where a cab driver named Max (Jamie Foxx) is taken hostage by a professional killer and forced to escort him around the city to his various marks.

As Vincent the killer, Tom Cruise wears a tight silver suit and dyes his hair gray. If we did not get the point that he is “cold-as-steel,” Mann also directs our attention to an ad for Bacardi Silver that sits on top of Max’s taxi. Cruise plays Vincent with frightening intensity and an air of mystery. He lets subtle shades of humanity leak through the hard exterior, causing the audience to wonder exactly how someone as affable as Vincent ended up so soulless.

The movie is essentially episodic, with some episodes working better than others. The film takes a slight detour when Vincent demands Max visit his mother in the hospital, but perks up quickly in a virtuoso action sequence where Vincent must carry out a hit in a crowded nightclub. There are also a few moments of comic relief, like when Vincent carefully instructs Max how to tell off his boss.

Between playing cat and mouse, Max and Vincent are allowed some well-crafted scenes of focused conversation. In the claustrophobic confines of the taxi, they banter about the nature of modern life and business. The screenplay by Stuart Beattie has a breezy way with dialogue. The characters easily segue from standard captor/hostage talk ("let me go," "I can’t let you go"), to sincere musings on personal crises and troubled pasts, to clever insights about each other’s behavioral contradictions.

As bodies begin to pile up around town, Vincent and Max are pursued by detective Fanning (Mark Ruffalo), a renegade cop who figures out all the angles (are there any other kind?). Ruffalo has a thankless role - his storyline is the kind of police procedural viewers have seen in countless television shows from "C.S.I." to "Law and Order." In the hands of a lesser actor, the movie could come to a dead halt every time either Cruise or Foxx is not on screen, but Ruffalo has the kind of natural likeability that helps him sustain the movie in the few moments when he is the center of it.

Those who saw Jamie Foxx hold his own with Al Pacino in "Any Given Sunday" will not be surprised by his dramatic chops in "Collateral." Foxx truly understands this role. He is never too flashy and never to too proud to take a back seat to Cruise’s much showier Vincent, and as a result, Max becomes a relatable everyman of nearly Jimmy Stewart proportions. Considering one of the last set pieces seems a nod to "Rear Window," it would not surprise me if Mann suggested Foxx brush up on old Stewart movies in preparation for the part.

In the Michael Mann oeuvre, "Collateral" falls somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t have the cinematic grandeur of "Heat" or the genre perfection of "Manhunter," but it is a solid thriller, even if it is too conventional for its own good.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10300&reviewer=381
originally posted: 08/30/04 09:47:28
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell very good cruise & foxx are great 4 stars
1/24/10 Jeff Great film. 5 stars
8/09/09 Jeff Wilder Well-made and involving. Only the interminable ending keeps me from giving it 5 stars. 4 stars
2/04/09 Faraz J Boring movie. Who cares about the acting if the movie is boring. Crap. 3 stars
12/28/08 Samantha Pruitt boring ass movie, fell asleep during it, stupid plot! 1 stars
10/31/08 ldavies I don't understand the 5 star ratings, Not that special. 3 stars
8/11/08 Shaun Wallner Cruise does it again! 5 stars
4/22/08 Quigley Very well-made thriller. Foxx, Cruise and Mann do brilliant work here. 5 stars
4/15/08 Jack Sommersby Stupid script and numerous implausibilities mar this good-looking crima drama. 2 stars
11/27/07 Vincent I dare to say this's Mann's best. needs to be seen more than once to really appreciate it 5 stars
11/19/07 Jose Luis Mann got another masterpiece. Very enjoyable film, great perfomances 5 stars
5/13/07 mb Adrenalin, Murders, Some Charm 4 stars
3/27/07 Double M Just brilliant.. Cruise was perfect in a surprising role and was snubbed of an oscar nom. 5 stars
3/21/07 ES That's a good movie right there 4 stars
2/08/07 R.W.Welch Contrived but entertaining. Script has some spark to it. 4 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller The Mann has done it yet again. Smart, slick, and wholly badass. 5 stars
1/30/07 William Boyle Spectacular nonsense. Cruise is like a Terminator with a screw loose. 4 stars
1/26/07 Tamara D. Leonard Boring! 1 stars
1/23/07 MP Bartley A snappy, brisk thriller. Direction doesn't lag and Cruise is icily excellent. 4 stars
11/03/06 mg I am 43 and this is the BEST movie I have ever seen in my life. Positive & motivational 5 stars
10/21/06 David Pollastrini very good 3 stars
4/02/06 JRE it's overrated but has lot's of action and great acting 4 stars
3/10/06 Dillon Top-notch action drama. Cruise is in top form and Foxx breaks through. 5 stars
12/30/05 Agent Sands One of greatest recent suspense films. 5 stars
12/21/05 steve newman Excellent film - the ending was predictable 4 stars
11/18/05 Chris Barrett Cruise Should Have Got An Oscar Nomination. Simply Brilliant. Mann's 2nd Best To Heat 5 stars
10/18/05 yj yyjyytn 1 stars
9/23/05 Jonathon Holmes one of the 10 best films of the year 5 stars
7/18/05 leeyicia m i loved this movie. i love anything with jamie foxx is in. 5 stars
7/10/05 slanes It was okay, I thought it would be a lot betterfrom all the hype. 3 stars
5/24/05 Casey Becher Pretty good Tom Cruise movie, but not as good as Mission Impossible. 4 stars
5/07/05 Who am I? This aint bad at all, nice look and feel although there were some misses along the way 4 stars
4/08/05 Monster W. Kung "Good guy stuck with bad guy" piece of crap, with laughably absurd action sequences. 1 stars
3/27/05 Charlie Tom's best! A great movie! 5 stars
3/26/05 Karen I hated it 1 stars
3/12/05 Fabr Nothing special. Nothing amazing in it 3 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Tom was surprisingly good as a bad guy, but Jamie stoled it! 4 stars
2/06/05 Phil M. Aficionado What David Hollands said. Boring, actually; I slept through parts of it. 2 stars
2/01/05 lisa w This one had me hooked from minute one, just something about it. Fab Cast 5 stars
1/31/05 Christy Harris Loved these guys! Great car chases! 4 stars
1/29/05 Dan Interesting Movie... 4 stars
1/29/05 sam bonner interesting mix of brutal action and dime store existential philosophy 4 stars
1/16/05 Landshark No, I shot him -- the bullets and the fall killed him. Maybe Mann's best. 5 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz The worst Mann film yet; the wolf scene is hysterical! 2 stars
12/31/04 HL Cruise wacking bad guys and no remorse for killin' a cop..I don't think so! 2 stars
12/30/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Mann, you're Da Man. Cruise, forget being the hero, be the villain. 5 stars
12/29/04 Katie Evridge Not as much action as I thought. Much more psychological. Ok movie! 4 stars
12/28/04 Tom Ciorciari Much ado about Cruise in a buzzed flat top... 3 stars
12/27/04 efrain beautiful, unnerving, sad. awesome. 5 stars
12/27/04 mwildema A nice suprise. 4 stars
12/15/04 ad good job 4 stars
12/15/04 Rizal Malik One exciting ride that is addictive. Outstanding cast, direction, script and cinematography 5 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams my favorite movie of 2004 5 stars
12/06/04 Gazza J Fucking Champion! 5 stars
11/25/04 Shams Huque Mann is a legend. Cruise was pretty good! 5 stars
11/07/04 John Bale Possibly the best hitman film since The Professional, Cruise heads a good cast. Suspenseful 5 stars
11/04/04 Dean Nice Camera angles 4 stars
11/03/04 Lee Graham Dark and atmospheric. Best performance I've seen by Cruise. 5 stars
10/25/04 ALDO Nothing special....too much shit chat...the last 30 mins is ok 3 stars
10/23/04 Luke A real masterpice, in my opinion! 5 stars
10/22/04 Denise really good 5 stars
10/21/04 georgia visually fantastic but a dud script 2 stars
10/21/04 Monday Morning L.A.- A small town...you bump into the same people a lot. Ya, right, but still an OK film. 3 stars
10/19/04 Susan L. Awesome movie. 4 stars
10/16/04 Archanist_101 One of Micheal Mann's best yet... Too bad he didnt hire Crowe & Sandler 5 stars
10/09/04 Ingo Quite ok, but to many "What the hell?"... 3 stars
9/26/04 ALBERT GREAT BRUCE MCGILL 5 stars
9/26/04 Graham Grip those armrests. Grip 'em hard. 5 stars
9/11/04 y2mckay Cruise and Foxx tolerable, J.P. Smith HOT, laggy first half but entertains in the end. 4 stars
8/30/04 Karl story and action a little hard to take 2 stars
8/28/04 Kimesabi A great assassin flick unfortunately assassinated in the last 5 minutes. 5 stars
8/27/04 Tristynn Pretty far fetched. Absolutly no character development. A real let down. 2 stars
8/24/04 Agent Sands By far Mann's best movie, and the best supense thriller in the past 2 years. 5 stars
8/16/04 Joe Kim Great Movie! 5 stars
8/16/04 zer0 falls completely apart halfway through, and the ending is the worst I've ever seen 2 stars
8/16/04 ownerofdajoint an incredibly tight thriller /cruise and foxx are as good here as ever..WOW ! 5 stars
8/15/04 malcolm excellent 'til the last 3 mins. no way a cab driver and lawyer beat a pro killer 4 stars
8/14/04 John a lame script full of ridiculous plot holes but expertly put together by Michael Mann 3 stars
8/14/04 Melissa Just saw it, and loved it! Cruise rocks as a bad guy. 5 stars
8/14/04 Peter James Cruise and Foxx have undeniable chemistry 5 stars
8/14/04 Gray lame! 1 stars
8/14/04 Nikolai Tofu Cruise gives Foxx some conversation instead of muttering to himself for 2 hours 2 stars
8/13/04 Uncle Phucker Mann failed with Ali. But he's getting closer to Heat and Thief days. Not as good as Heat.. 4 stars
8/12/04 McGraw Thrilling, tense, and WONDERFULLY intelligent. 5 stars
8/09/04 arlene dolen michael mann must be a great quentin tarantino fan. it's just that mann got it all wrong. 3 stars
8/09/04 Brian Halley Complete crap 1 stars
8/09/04 wintermute well painted scenes and stunning lighting 5 stars
8/09/04 Mike V Michael Mann meets Brian Depalma and it kicks ass! 5 stars
8/08/04 roddick_luva this movie was good but really draggy 4 stars
8/07/04 sarah the bearah has netflix finally become a verb? 4 stars
8/07/04 rory aweful 1 stars
8/07/04 ajay When did Jamie Foxx become an "actor"?? (ps, Held Up was funny, netflix it) 4 stars
8/07/04 Christina You guys are insane if you didnt like this 5 stars
8/07/04 KingNeutron Vincent is just too one-dimensional. Nothing earth-shattering here, but worth matinee. 3 stars
8/07/04 Brad I loved it. Good job by Jamie Foxx (and Cruise of course) 5 stars
8/06/04 Rose Doub exciting and able to keep the viewer interested and in suspense to the end 4 stars
8/06/04 Elaine Perrone Collateral: A/K/A YET Another 48HRS. Meh. 3 stars
8/03/04 Ray Ok 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Oct-2004


Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Stuart Beattie

Cast
  Tom Cruise
  Jamie Foxx
  Jada Pinkett Smith
  Mark Ruffalo
  Peter Berg
  Bruce McGill



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