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Overall Rating
3.66

Awesome: 24.6%
Worth A Look40.11%
Average: 16.58%
Pretty Bad: 14.44%
Total Crap: 4.28%

15 reviews, 97 user ratings


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Collateral
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Cruise is killer, but it's Jamie Foxx's movie."
4 stars

Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a well-dressed man with a scruff of gray beard and short gray hair. By his looks and demeanor, he could be a hip, scornful corporate attorney, but if we've seen the ads we know he's not. Vincent climbs into the cab of Max (Jamie Foxx), who has been hacking for twelve years but still entertains the fantasy of owning a limo service.

Collateral, perhaps Michael Mann's best film since Manhunter, is about the collision between a soulful dreamer and a soulless man of action. Vincent, whose line of work as an assassin is revealed soon enough, taunts Max about his unrealized dreams. Maybe he's trying to get Max to show some spark, some will to live, or maybe he's trying to justify killing a witness to murder whose life isn't going anywhere.

Like most of Mann's films, Collateral has cool to burn: Vincent is like a sleek gray bullet ricocheting around the streets of L.A., killing with neither malice nor reflection. He has a job to do; he does it. The casting of Tom Cruise, Hollywood's number-one Type A personality, in the role of a callous sociopath is a stroke of malign wit. At several points in the movie, Vincent bowls over all obstacles -- people, furniture -- to get to his prey, and Cruise makes you believe in Vincent's unholy focus. Putting him up against Jamie Foxx's resigned cabbie, who keeps his vehicle spotless but persists in thinking of his job as a temporary gig, allows for a strange and subtle dynamic. Collateral is less a dead-cool thriller than a bluesy, melancholy character study.

Stuart Beattie's script defines the men by their tastes and values. Max listens to old-school soul; Vincent prefers improvisational jazz, but if there's a less improvisational character in movies than Vincent, I'd like to hear about it. "He likes to sing along and he likes to shoot his gun," sang Kurt Cobain, "but he don't know what it means." Nor does he care; Vincent goes with the moment insofar as he doesn't waste time on the past, but every move he makes seems utterly mapped out. This feels right for a professional killer, and Vincent's yearning for unstructured music humanizes him somewhat, shows us a pocket of his life where he feels loose. The movie pauses so that a jazz-club owner can regale Vincent and Max with an anecdote about the surly Miles Davis, and it's one of the few times Cruise permits himself his famous smile.

Collateral is neatly cast, even in walk-through roles filled by Jason Statham or Javier Bardem, and Beattie writes some teasing dialogue between Max and a comely fare played by Jada Pinkett Smith. We know she'll turn up again at some point in the movie, but we don't know how, and her re-entry feels a bit movie-ish. Then again, so does the whole story, which lingers on moods and tensions but almost skims over the action sequences, as if Mann agreed with Vincent that they were necessary tasks that should be handled without fuss. Mann seems to have outgrown the empty posturing of films like Heat; he gives us iconic characters here, but then burrows inside them.

I don't think Collateral is the masterpiece a lot of critics are selling it as -- it's a little too smitten with its own L.A. mood. Still, it's a welcome change-of-pace dramatic thriller, in which the formerly too-emphatic director hints at depth rather than insisting on it. The movie goes down smooth and easy, and should make a star out of Jamie Foxx, the true anchor of the film. Cruise gets to be a violently proficient bad-ass, but Foxx has the harder role, a decent man who speaks and acts in defense of humanity. He does it without piety; his Max just wants to get through the day without incident, and thinks everyone else should, too.

Vincent has a colder view of the universe and where he fits into it, and his fate is as appropriate as it is haunting. You get the sense that he finally knows exactly what it means.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10300&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/23/07 04:50:08
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sydney Film Festival For more in the 2005 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/24/10 Jeff Great film. 5 stars
8/10/09 Jeff Wilder Well-made and involving. Only the interminable ending keeps me from giving it 5 stars. 4 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J Boring movie. Who cares about the acting if the movie is boring. Crap. 3 stars
12/28/08 Samantha Pruitt boring ass movie, fell asleep during it, stupid plot! 1 stars
11/01/08 ldavies I don't understand the 5 star ratings, Not that special. 3 stars
8/12/08 Shaun Wallner Cruise does it again! 5 stars
4/23/08 Quigley Very well-made thriller. Foxx, Cruise and Mann do brilliant work here. 5 stars
4/16/08 Jack Sommersby Stupid script and numerous implausibilities mar this good-looking crima drama. 2 stars
11/28/07 Vincent I dare to say this's Mann's best. needs to be seen more than once to really appreciate it 5 stars
11/20/07 Jose Luis Mann got another masterpiece. Very enjoyable film, great perfomances 5 stars
5/14/07 mb Adrenalin, Murders, Some Charm 4 stars
3/28/07 Double M Just brilliant.. Cruise was perfect in a surprising role and was snubbed of an oscar nom. 5 stars
3/22/07 ES That's a good movie right there 4 stars
2/08/07 R.W.Welch Contrived but entertaining. Script has some spark to it. 4 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller The Mann has done it yet again. Smart, slick, and wholly badass. 5 stars
1/31/07 William Boyle Spectacular nonsense. Cruise is like a Terminator with a screw loose. 4 stars
1/27/07 Tamara D. Leonard Boring! 1 stars
1/24/07 MP Bartley A snappy, brisk thriller. Direction doesn't lag and Cruise is icily excellent. 4 stars
11/03/06 mg I am 43 and this is the BEST movie I have ever seen in my life. Positive & motivational 5 stars
10/22/06 David Pollastrini very good 3 stars
4/03/06 JRE it's overrated but has lot's of action and great acting 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Top-notch action drama. Cruise is in top form and Foxx breaks through. 5 stars
12/30/05 Agent Sands One of greatest recent suspense films. 5 stars
12/22/05 steve newman Excellent film - the ending was predictable 4 stars
11/18/05 Chris Barrett Cruise Should Have Got An Oscar Nomination. Simply Brilliant. Mann's 2nd Best To Heat 5 stars
10/18/05 yj yyjyytn 1 stars
9/24/05 Jonathon Holmes one of the 10 best films of the year 5 stars
7/19/05 leeyicia m i loved this movie. i love anything with jamie foxx is in. 5 stars
7/11/05 slanes It was okay, I thought it would be a lot betterfrom all the hype. 3 stars
5/25/05 Casey Becher Pretty good Tom Cruise movie, but not as good as Mission Impossible. 4 stars
5/07/05 Who am I? This aint bad at all, nice look and feel although there were some misses along the way 4 stars
4/09/05 Monster W. Kung "Good guy stuck with bad guy" piece of crap, with laughably absurd action sequences. 1 stars
3/28/05 Charlie Tom's best! A great movie! 5 stars
3/27/05 Karen I hated it 1 stars
3/13/05 Fabr Nothing special. Nothing amazing in it 3 stars
2/22/05 Captain Craig Tom was surprisingly good as a bad guy, but Jamie stoled it! 4 stars
2/06/05 Phil M. Aficionado What David Hollands said. Boring, actually; I slept through parts of it. 2 stars
2/02/05 lisa w This one had me hooked from minute one, just something about it. Fab Cast 5 stars
2/01/05 Christy Harris Loved these guys! Great car chases! 4 stars
1/30/05 Dan Interesting Movie... 4 stars
1/30/05 sam bonner interesting mix of brutal action and dime store existential philosophy 4 stars
1/16/05 Landshark No, I shot him -- the bullets and the fall killed him. Maybe Mann's best. 5 stars
1/10/05 Lucas Stenz The worst Mann film yet; the wolf scene is hysterical! 2 stars
1/01/05 HL Cruise wacking bad guys and no remorse for killin' a cop..I don't think so! 2 stars
12/31/04 Tjalda L. Schiel Mann, you're Da Man. Cruise, forget being the hero, be the villain. 5 stars
12/30/04 Katie Evridge Not as much action as I thought. Much more psychological. Ok movie! 4 stars
12/29/04 Tom Ciorciari Much ado about Cruise in a buzzed flat top... 3 stars
12/28/04 efrain beautiful, unnerving, sad. awesome. 5 stars
12/28/04 mwildema A nice suprise. 4 stars
12/16/04 ad good job 4 stars
12/16/04 Rizal Malik One exciting ride that is addictive. Outstanding cast, direction, script and cinematography 5 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams my favorite movie of 2004 5 stars
12/06/04 Gazza J Fucking Champion! 5 stars
11/25/04 Shams Huque Mann is a legend. Cruise was pretty good! 5 stars
11/07/04 John Bale Possibly the best hitman film since The Professional, Cruise heads a good cast. Suspenseful 5 stars
11/05/04 Dean Nice Camera angles 4 stars
11/03/04 Lee Graham Dark and atmospheric. Best performance I've seen by Cruise. 5 stars
10/25/04 ALDO Nothing special....too much shit chat...the last 30 mins is ok 3 stars
10/24/04 Luke A real masterpice, in my opinion! 5 stars
10/23/04 Denise really good 5 stars
10/21/04 georgia visually fantastic but a dud script 2 stars
10/21/04 Monday Morning L.A.- A small town...you bump into the same people a lot. Ya, right, but still an OK film. 3 stars
10/20/04 Susan L. Awesome movie. 4 stars
10/16/04 Archanist_101 One of Micheal Mann's best yet... Too bad he didnt hire Crowe & Sandler 5 stars
10/10/04 Ingo Quite ok, but to many "What the hell?"... 3 stars
9/27/04 ALBERT GREAT BRUCE MCGILL 5 stars
9/26/04 Graham Grip those armrests. Grip 'em hard. 5 stars
9/12/04 y2mckay Cruise and Foxx tolerable, J.P. Smith HOT, laggy first half but entertains in the end. 4 stars
8/31/04 Karl story and action a little hard to take 2 stars
8/29/04 Kimesabi A great assassin flick unfortunately assassinated in the last 5 minutes. 5 stars
8/28/04 Tristynn Pretty far fetched. Absolutly no character development. A real let down. 2 stars
8/25/04 Agent Sands By far Mann's best movie, and the best supense thriller in the past 2 years. 5 stars
8/17/04 Joe Kim Great Movie! 5 stars
8/16/04 zer0 falls completely apart halfway through, and the ending is the worst I've ever seen 2 stars
8/16/04 ownerofdajoint an incredibly tight thriller /cruise and foxx are as good here as ever..WOW ! 5 stars
8/16/04 malcolm excellent 'til the last 3 mins. no way a cab driver and lawyer beat a pro killer 4 stars
8/15/04 John a lame script full of ridiculous plot holes but expertly put together by Michael Mann 3 stars
8/15/04 Melissa Just saw it, and loved it! Cruise rocks as a bad guy. 5 stars
8/15/04 Peter James Cruise and Foxx have undeniable chemistry 5 stars
8/15/04 Gray lame! 1 stars
8/15/04 Nikolai Tofu Cruise gives Foxx some conversation instead of muttering to himself for 2 hours 2 stars
8/14/04 Uncle Phucker Mann failed with Ali. But he's getting closer to Heat and Thief days. Not as good as Heat.. 4 stars
8/13/04 McGraw Thrilling, tense, and WONDERFULLY intelligent. 5 stars
8/10/04 arlene dolen michael mann must be a great quentin tarantino fan. it's just that mann got it all wrong. 3 stars
8/10/04 Brian Halley Complete crap 1 stars
8/10/04 wintermute well painted scenes and stunning lighting 5 stars
8/10/04 Mike V Michael Mann meets Brian Depalma and it kicks ass! 5 stars
8/08/04 roddick_luva this movie was good but really draggy 4 stars
8/08/04 sarah the bearah has netflix finally become a verb? 4 stars
8/08/04 rory aweful 1 stars
8/08/04 ajay When did Jamie Foxx become an "actor"?? (ps, Held Up was funny, netflix it) 4 stars
8/08/04 Christina You guys are insane if you didnt like this 5 stars
8/07/04 KingNeutron Vincent is just too one-dimensional. Nothing earth-shattering here, but worth matinee. 3 stars
8/07/04 Brad I loved it. Good job by Jamie Foxx (and Cruise of course) 5 stars
8/07/04 Rose Doub exciting and able to keep the viewer interested and in suspense to the end 4 stars
8/06/04 Elaine Perrone Collateral: A/K/A YET Another 48HRS. Meh. 3 stars
8/04/04 Ray Ok 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  06-Aug-2004 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  14-Oct-2004


Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Stuart Beattie

Cast
  Tom Cruise
  Jamie Foxx
  Jada Pinkett Smith
  Mark Ruffalo
  Peter Berg
  Bruce McGill



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