Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg
After reviewing Finding Neverland last time, I hope that this movie is butch enough to satisfy topfive_reviews LAW #122. We shall see...
I finally got around to seeing Collateral this week, it being the movie I most wanted to see in the summer but didn't. It's been popping up on some year end best of lists, and garnered Jamie Foxx a lot of early attention (including a Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe nomination) prior to the release of Ray.
After viewing it, I'm really happy that I finally got around to it. It is a fantastic thriller crafted by director Michael Mann. The only way I could have got into it more is if somehow I could have seen the movie without having heard anything about it. Then, perhaps, the early surprise that Tom Cruise's character, Vincent, is a contract killer would have been fun and shocking. However, that's such a small part of the chills and thrills of the movie. Plus, it plays well that we know something about Vincent that Max (Jamie Foxx) doesn't know, so that the near misses at the beginning of the film involve the audience more. If only Max had taken Annie's (Jada Pinkett Smith) proposed route, and gotten to her destination a few minutes later. If only he had blown Vincent off as he initially had. If only he turned down Vincent's offer; if only he could have parked on the street.
Of course, we would have missed a great movie if only any of those if onlys ever happened, but it still allows you to get involved in the suspense earlier in the film. The big question of the movie then becomes how well does Cruise do as a bad guy? The answer is fucking awesome. Even though he's the biggest movie star in the world, perhaps ever, it didn't take me long to stop seeing Cruise and start seeing Vincent. In the big action scene in the club, I was thinking "man is Vincent badass", not "man, is Tom Cruise playing a great badass". This is one of Cruise's best roles of what I'm comfortable to say is a distinguished career.
Foxx is even better as the hero of the movie. I'm not exactly sure why he keeps getting nominated as a supporting actor, when he is a co-star, and is featured more prominently in the film than Cruise. I guess that's what category they submitted for him so he could get recognised for this and Ray, or that if you're in a film with Tom Cruise, you're a supporting actor by proclamation. Most of the plot, development and suspense is derived from the closed quarters conversations between Max and Vincent, and Foxx more than holds his own. Their chemistry is such that while you are cheering for Max to get away from the sociopath in the backseat, you also want to see Vincent succeed in his appointed rounds so you can see more between the two men.
I'm pretty cautious in giving perfect scores, but when I thought about it, there's nothing about this movie I would change and in no area I found it lacking, so I have to go the whole way and give Collateral 5 out of 5 stars. It's one of the best movies of 2004. Also, the high-definition film they used to film it looked AWESOME on my hi def TV.