Collateral (2004)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 2004Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, Parkes+MacDonald Image Nation, Edge City.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by , .  Produced by Michael Mann, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Jamie Foxx is excellent as a cab driver who drops off the beginning of a promising relationship in the form of  (who has never been more captivating) and picks up trouble in the form of Tom Cruise. Cruise forces Foxx to drive him around Los Angeles to five different locations, with the driver being none the wiser for the reason until a stray body lands on top of his taxicab and he realizes he’s chauffeuring an assassin-for-hire. Now Foxx has to try and survive the evening while also doing his best to see if he can prevent more killings, but it doesn’t prove to be an easy task with the killer doing a very good job of keeping the two of them close together. What’s best about this film is Michael Mann’s riveting direction: a slow and steady pace that creeps towards a tighter and tighter climax until you find yourself grabbing your seat for dear life by the end. The screenplay seems to run out of ideas by its conclusion and takes a very Hollywood turn in the last third, a shame considering how marvelously jazzy the rest of it is; at the same time, recognizing this doesn’t make the film any less enjoyable. The atmosphere is captivating, with slow-burning night scenes and smoky clubs creating the feeling of a nightmarish evening that refuses to end, and Mann matches his visuals with two very strong performances in the leads. Foxx does a terrific job of toning down his bouncy personality, and Cruise is effectively creepy as the bad guy. Mann’s reputation as a director is so strong that he gets some pretty big names to show up in very minor roles here, including a cameo by , a terrific opening scene with  and wonderful performances (in far too small roles) by Mark Ruffalo,  and Javier Bardem.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Supporting Actor (Jamie Foxx); Best Film Editing

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Supporting Actor (Jamie Foxx)

Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination:  Best Supporting Actor (Jamie Foxx)

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