Directed by Michael Mann
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jan 1 2005
Tom Cruise plays against type as a grey haired hit man hunting down his various targets throughout the evening. Jamie Foxx is the unlucky cab driver that has to drive his ass around town to each new hit. You want an engaging character piece with some laughs and gripping tension? Then "Collateral" is definitely for you.
"Collateral" works because of the chemistry between Cruise and Foxx. What seems like it may be an awkward pairing, instead turns into a great matchup of opposite talents. Cruise ,playing a role that he normally doesn't take, definitely steals the screen time, but Foxx, with his witty humor, and underscored performance, gives Cruise a run for his money. The third main "actor" in this film is the cab itself, which is filmed beautifully with a mostly "soft lit hand held" camera jerkiness.
The pace of the story also works very well and the music is excellent. The movie always went in new directions which also kept me quite interested. The worry for me was that the two were going to be driving around town in a cab for 2 hours, but thankfully that doesn't happen. The humor was placed in just the right spots as to not ruin the feel of the movie, but still give the audience a quick breath of fresh air before the next killing. The end of the movie is a real tension grabber, especially the office scenes, and will have you on the edge of your seat.
On the downside, no matter how well Cruise played his role as the hitman, you may still feel a little like he's "out of place" in this role. Its great that he went against type and make no mistake, he did it well. But you always get that "all-american" boy type of feel from him. Some of the movie felt like it could be cut down a little bit and some scenes seemed to go on a little bit too long. The subplot with the police and FBI didn't really go anywhere and seemed to just be in the movie for the sake of adding some depth to it.
All in all, this was an excellent character piece with some great performances and some great camerawork. Definitely worth the ticket price.