2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
have no control over Amazon putting this review under other film formats eg Blu-Ray. This review is for the DVD version. Whilst the plot may be the same, the final cut, audio, video quality may vary on other formats.
There are very few Tom Cruise films that I dislike, so this was a safe gamble for me when I bought it without knowing anything about the film.
Tom Cruise steps out of his usual heroic character and into the shoes of Vincent, a cold and calculating assassin. He gets picked up by Max (Jamie Foxx), a mild mannered taxi Driver and is ferried around from one kill to another, but something goes wrong and Max becomes aware of his passengers true intentions and his connection to the last victim on the hit list.
Almost 10 years old now, but this film still has a lot of appeal and even though you may know the whole plot, it is still a film you can pick up and watch from time to time. So for the current price of 2 GBP it is a sound entertainment investment
on 7 July 2015
Max has been a cab driver for twelve years. The faces have come and gone from his rear- view mirror, people and places he's long since forgotten.....until tonight.
Vincent is a contract killer. When a trafficking cartel learns that they're about to be indicted by a federal grand jury, they mount an operation to kill the key witness, and the last stage is tonight.
It is on this night that Vincent has arrived, and five bodies are supposed to fall. Circumstances cause Vincent to hijack Max' taxicab, and Max becomes collateral.
Through the night, Vincent forces Max to drive him to each assigned destination. And as the L.A.P.D. and F.B.I. race to intercept them, Max and Vincent's survival become dependent on each other, in ways neither would have imagined........
Just lately, Mann has fallen off track with his directing, and when you compare the likes of Miami Vice and Public Enemies to this, Heat, and The Insider, it's quite frustrating when you know that the man is a veritable genius.
Even though the film is set in the dead of the night, Los Angeles has never looked more alive in a movie. Manns L.A is reminds on of the first Terminator movie, raw, dirty, and dangerous. Yes the song said 'I love L.A', but the song wouldn't have been that good if it elaborated 'just not these parts'.
The relationship between Vincent and Max is fundamental to the films progression, and it is one strange relationship. In some parts, the narrative really leads you to believe that Max will survive the night, and there are times when you think to yourself, 'just go with it Max, Vincent's quite reasonable'.
And this is why Vincent is so dangerous, Cruise portrays him as a reasonable person, almost a friend to Max, when stereotypical plot narrative would just tell you that Max wouldn't survive. This is why Collateral is so innovative, you care for both hero and villain.
Cruise is wonderful, and it's one of his best roles, and what Mann does with Vincent's apparel is another genius stroke, as his plan begins to fall apart and Vincent begins to lose it, his clothes become more frayed and damaged, just like his psyche.
The final third of the movie is tense on the verge of uneasy watching, you feel just as helpless and desperate as Max, when he sees Vincent on the floor below his next intended victim.
As the sun rises on a steam-punksesque L.A, a story told by one of the characters comes into to its own, a perfect ending to a great thriller.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Collateral is not the greatest film ever made, and I doubt anyone would pretend it to be. It is, however, one of my favourite films. Certainly in my top ten. Possibly in my top five, depending on what mood I'm in. I won't comment on the story; been done before, & you don't need to read yet another detailed description. Suffice it to say, cab driver gets an unpleasent shock when he abruptly discovers that the man he's just agreed to hang with for the night as he makes a series of stops isn't actually involved in real estate, but is systematically killing off Fereral witnesses and those involved in the prosecution of what is assumed to be a fairly major criminal case, most likely related to organised crime / finance.
The direction is exemplary. Beautifully shot, mostly in HD digital video, LA, on this one night of the 24th - 25th January 2004 becomes far more than just a backdrop. It is integral to both story and atmosphere; something that Mann has been a master of since Miami Vice in the early 1980s. Lights outside darkened buildings glimmer, but remain in focus; empty, palm-lined streets practically echo the hollowness of the lives of the central characters (that's not a criticism); overhead shots impart a feeling of detachment from reality. Never has LA looked quite so haunting, hence my chosen review title. The music, as ever with Mann's work, is superbly chosen, and like the visuals, is in fact responsible for telling some of the story, at least at a subconscious level.
Acting is superb throughout, no real weak links. Jamie Foxx gained most of the plaudits as Max, the overly cautious, somewhat emotionally repressed cabbie who has big dreams that are never likely to come to fruition, largely because they are just that: dreams of perfection, which he knows in his heart cannot ever be achieved in this life, and which he clearly uses as an excuse to justify his 'temporay' stint as a cab driver -a 'temporary' job that has, on the night the film takes place in, lasted for twelve years. Sympathetic, kind-hearted, but a looser, at least until Vincent appears. Foxx does a masterful job of letting Max gradually adapt, beginning from confusion and vulnerability, as he is pulled far from the security of his ordered, formalised world, into a much more dynamic condition, which ultimately, he rises to, if not completely successfully. A superb performance all round.
The real surprise for me however was Tom Cruise. I am not a particular fan of his work, however, the fact that he was playing a part which is essentially the antithesis of how he is normally cast has allowed him to produce what is for me, his best performance outside Eyes Wide Shut, and one for which he should have recieved rather more credit than he did. His Vincent, although initially appearing an emotionless killer of metronomic precision steadily develops ever widening cracks in his psychological armour, and while genuinely frightening for much of the time, ends as clearly as a vulnerable, damaged human being, which goes some way to explaining, if not justifying his actions, and attitude. Cruise's movement in particular should draw praise; he had spent months preparing for the role, much of which was spent on the range and in learning military style CQC (Close Quarter Combat) unarmed fighting techniques. All of this is clearly revealed to anyone with an eye for accurate detail. Just watch how Vincent assesses situations, his economy of motion, and where his eyes are looking -not always where you assume, and that is no accident.
The interaction of the two leads is largely what makes Collateral what it is of course, and they have an excellent rapport, fluctuating with Vincent's almost schizophenic shifts in attitude, from potentially threatening figure to almost brotherly affection for his cab driver, who ultimately appears to learn much from his nemesis, or at least, how to take risks. The deliberate, ironic and frequently nihilistic banter Vincent hits him with both helps his focus and provides a few fleeting glimpses of black humour. The supporting cast deserve much praise too; an interesting mixture of well-known actors in cameo roles to add a little extra tension and doubt to proceedings, and some less well-known figures, including some professional police officers, which adds a further degree of realism to details.
Best buy if you can is the two disk edition (unless you're into blu-ray); the second disk of extras, including Cruise's infamous stint as a USP delivery man in busy locations, in order to help him learn to blend into crowds, is well worth looking through. The 'making-of' featurettes are interesting enough; my own favourite is Mann's commentry on the 1st disk however, which gives a real additional insight into the characters and the sometimes frightening levels of detail they went into in order to build up their back-stories. It also lends in interesting view into how Mann himself directs films. Transfer to DVD is excellent; detail is superb, sound clean in all formats, colours and contrasts beautifully reproduced.
No, Collateral is not perfect. Yes, there are plot holes. Whether that matters I suspect rather depends on individual preference, and what you wish to take out of the film. It has far greater depth than many (most) releases, the script is varied and well paced, the dialogue tightly written and cleverly put together, allowing the effective convergence of the different threads of the story at critical junctures. It happens to tick the right boxes for me, as I love this sort of work. Even if you don't, there is fundamentally little wrong with it on an artistic level, and only a few will fail to appreciate it ('enjoy' might be stretching things too far -it's not the sort of film you can necessarily 'enjoy').
Which rather begs a question: what, if anything, do you feel about Vincent and Max at the end? Me? I feel sad. Mann is a master of provoking such reactions, and like much of his work Collateral,leaves the viewer feeling emotionally drained when the final credits roll; the only time any credits are seen in the film.