Max has lived the mundane life of a cab driver for 12 years. Vincent is an assassin who has been paid to murder five people who could put the leaders of a powerful drug trafficking ring behind bars. Tonight, Max picks up Vincent.
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Works as an adrenaline rush, and a metaphor for a triumphant revolution against 1st-world nations apathetic complacency of hypocritical morals that spawn eventual murder of the marginalized contained in their society and abroad. Foxx's journey from zero to hero over the bourgeoisie predator of Cruise is equated to the overthrow of an unfair ruling class towards a union with Pinkett's open-minded academic.
Mann buys into genre, into its narrative mechanics, its situational archetypes, its clichés. He wholly accepts an established form which, unlike Godard, he has no interest in deconstructing. Mann instead wishes 2 establish a tranquil dialogue between genre & his own aesthetic principles which gravitate toward a quiet void, toward an overwhelming sense of night, cityscape. His digital maneuvers are without parallel.
A pioneer film in digital filmmaking that attempted to make digital art instead of the cheap alternative to film it had been used for. Very cool in 2004 (one of my top 10 that year) that seems to date about as well as the cell phone technology on screen. The visual mastery hides the weakness in story as does a well cast Cruise and a top notch Oscar nominated turn by Foxx. '..since when was any of this negotiable?.'
Collateral is an exceptional film, one in which the city of Los Angeles seemingly becomes a character in and of itself. The acting between Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx is outstanding, and the suspense is perfectly paced.
Jamie Foxx does a good turn as an everyman cabbie, and Cruise is surprisingly reflective in his badass role (a role he has effectively reprised in "Jack Reacher"); but there is an almost total lack of tension and sense of cinematic panache due to slack editing and workaday cinematography. Probably the world's greatest screen actor, Javier Bardem, steals the film in his one scene.
Criminally underrated and unfairly maligned by Mann acolytes: "Collateral" is both a taut, perfectly-paced thriller and a well-realized character study. Scathing commentary on first world morality is abound, Cruise is vicious and tragic, Foxx is hilarious and sympathetic.
Its so rare to find a good modern American thriller that's smart and doesn't talk down to its audience. Aside from the last 20 minutes of this movie (which is brilliant) some of the most intense scenes of the film are the conversations between these two men, both of whom are portrayed stunningly. Foxx is great and Cruise gives one the best performances I've ever seen him in. I never thought I'd be scared of him!
Manns journey towards a new kind of cinema was/is ever expanding, but it was with Collateral that he (in my opinion) for the first time really found what he was looking for. Slowly but surely any feeling of off-screen space dissolves in the endlessly deep and wide fibers of the digital image, so that a space is never just a space and the world outside of the frame never just a reality to be separated from any of it.