Browsing Tag
michael mann

I didn’t see last winter’s The Last Samurai because I thought it was a bold award-fishing move on Tom Cruise. Many people called me crazy for thinking that, and many other people said it was a good movie, but it just didn’t jive with me. Truth be told, Tom Cruise movies call into one of two categories for me, either A) holy crap this looks cool or B) what the hell? Lucky for you and me, Collateral falls into the former category and brings Mr. Cruise into a villainous role with great ease.

Much press was given to the film because of the headlining actor’s aforementioned trip into the role of a bad guy complete with grey hair and a personality that was both friendly and ominous. Cruise portrays Vincent, a hired hit man gunning down witnesses around LA the night before a big trial. Vincent is picked up by Max (Jamie Foxx), a cab driver aspiring to be the owner of a limo company. Max is the prerequisite nice guy who gets caught up in Vincent’s dealings after he picks him up as a fair and has an unexpected run in with one of the bad guy’s targets (in the aerial form). The cabbie is then forced to drive Vincent around town, doing errand after errand for the man who will most likely kill him when the night is through.

The film, directed by Michael Mann, is highly stylized, which I believe is one of the things that drew me to it in the first place. I’m a sucker for unconventional camera angles and different ways of shooting movies, seeing Collateral filmed in what looks like handheld DV was icing on the cake for an enjoyable film. The film is a fun ride with dialog that would make Quentin Tarantino happy and a storyline breaking away from the usual summer norm of bigger and bigger explosions with less and less plot. In fact, Collateral is a film that makes you think, at times, but provides enough explanation for its plot points to be fleshed out while not giving too much away. The movie’s twist towards the end is fore-shadowed at the beginning of the film, but can still be a surprise, as it was to me.

While a lot has been said about Tom Cruise and the role he played in the film, I feel not enough credit has been given to Jamie Foxx in a straight dramatic role. If he isn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor I will lose the little bit of faith I have left in the Oscar process. That faith was only resorted after Return of the King swept the awards earlier this year. Foxx provides the film’s comic foil, something every film should have, no matter how serious, but still pulls off the required role with grace. I’ve read other reviews online that said it, but now I believe it, this was a real career move for Foxx and I wish him the best of luck.

Mann doesn’t shy away from the brutality of Vincent’s work, which plays well for the film. Rather than sanitize the life of a hitman and showing most of the deaths off-screen, the director opted for the brutality not seen since The Punisher, earlier this year.

The only problem I have with the film is the Hollywood ending. I know it is almost impossible to avoid it, but I felt that things were wrapped up in too neat of a package. Without spoiling the closing moments of the film, let me just say you may be disappointed with how it turns out. This isn’t to state the movie, as a whole, isn’t fulfilling, which it is, it is just saying that in a film such as this, where unconventional seems to be the word of the day, I was disappointed.

Even with the rather cliché ending, Collateral is still a worthy film of your summer’s dwindling time. The truly breakout performance from Jamie Foxx and the first time Tom Cruise has portrayed a villain are more than enough to justify seeing the film, but the exciting story and unconventional film style are even more reasons to plop down the $6.50 for a ticket and enjoy the final weeks of summer.