Sunday, August 10, 2014


Movie Name: Collateral
Year of Release: 2004
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg, Bruce McGill, Javier Bardem, Irma P. Hall, Richard T. Jones, Bodhi Elfman, Debi Mazar, Emilio Rivera
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Michael Mann has forged a career, that though not very productive, has primed for its detailed execution. "Collateral" followed his well received "Ali" (the biopic on Muhammad Ali), but went in a direction of creating more of a suspense/thriller exercise. The film follows the story of Max, a cab driver who has the ambition of creating his own limousine business. Max on one of his routes, picks Vincent, an apparent businessman, who hires him to drive around all night while he finishes his businesses. Much to Max's horror, he accidentally discovers that Vincent is in fact a hired assassin. It's up to him to escape from that situation and simultaneously save the life of Vincent's last target.
Michael Mann has always excelled in creating atmospheres and situations that feel real and very tied to the scenario he is depicting. His attention to detail, paired with his ability to allow the characters to be flushed out and more than just cliches, allows "Collateral" to be more than just a cat and mouse story about a killer in pursuit of his prey. It's a film about the loneliness of living in anonymous cities, about the need to establish connections, and indeed a suspense story and a lesson of how quickly things and situations can change. The film has a great cast, starting with Tom Cruise playing a menacing figure, Jamie Foxx credibly creating an every day man filled with dreams and ambitions, Jada Pinkett Smith and Mark Ruffalo. The cinematography from Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron is beautiful, as is the score from James Newton Howard. A wonderful film always worth revisiting.