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I off one fat Angelino, and you throw a hissy fit...
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.