out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
|*Also starring: ||Javier Bardem, Peter Berg, Mark Ruffalo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Paul Adelstein, Corinne Chooey, Irma P. Hall, Barry Shabaka Henley, Kyu Lee, Bruce McGill, Emilio Rivera, Angelo Tiffe||
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
Tom Cruise loves challenges - and this is a big one. In this
exhilarating, contemporary thriller directed by Michael Mann, he plays Vincent,
an imperious, inscrutable, yet engaging hit-man, who arrives in Los Angeles
with a contract to assassinate five people. He commandeers a taxi driven by Max
(Jamie Foxx), noting that LA is "sprawled out, disconnected, like me."
Vincent's offer of $700 cash is irresistible since, for years, Max has had
dreams of starting his own limo company. Although he soon realizes that his
passenger is a cold-blooded killer, Max is drawn in deeper and deeper until
it's too late to escape, particularly in a city where "nobody notices."
Wearing a bespoke suit that sets off his stylish, cropped, silvery hair,
Tom Cruise is not only convincing but compelling. In a complex, meticulously
detailed performance, Cruise plays evil as if he'd been dipped in it, while
Jamie Foxx ("Breakin' All the Rules") is superb as his mild-mannered
"everyman" hostage. Jada Pinkett Smith ("The Matrix Reloaded") makes an
indelible impression as a savvy, sly prosecutor who precedes Vincent in Max's
cab and then crops up later in the story, while Irma P. Hall is effective in a
brief scene as Max's feisty hospitalized mother.
Working from Stuart Beattie's intelligent, multi-layered script that
delineates the unlikely relationship between these two disparate men, director
Michael Mann ("The Insider") keeps the tension taut while exploring the nuances
of each character-driven scene, although the conclusion seems agonizingly
anti-climactic, as does the dutiful subplot involving two narcotics detectives
(Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg) and an FBI agent (Bruce McGill). On the Granger
Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Collateral" is an intense, unflinching 8. It's
paralyzingly seductive and suspenseful.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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