Collateral (2004)

“I can tell you why people go insane; I can show you how you can do the same!”


Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Studios present…

It’s a numbers game! Two opposite men, two interlocking jobs, five destinations and one life changing night…simple math right?

A fast paced, no holds barred killing spree that follows the story of a hit man who hires a cab driver as it turns into a night of adversely, sullen proportions! The objective was to get to his five targets that were involved in a pending drug indictment case in the following morning. Tom Cruise (Minority Report) makes a full swing here coming from a long line of heroes he portrayed in every film he’s been with.

Tom has played so much character driven representation in his lifetime but not like this, not as an antagonist. Cold and brutal in his work as he demands nothing less from what he does as it allows to support his intended goals. He always gives his charisma to do the talking but with this film though, he still loves to run and shoot people however, the only catch now is he had a conscience and with his job it could be devastating…

The dynamic between the two actors was so much fun to watch seeing who gets the upper hand as it leads to a more twisted resolute that either of them could not get away from. Academy Award Winner Jamie Foxx (Miami Heat) is laid back cab driver Max Durocher. We see him daydreaming, separating himself from his mundane existence as he hides from the reality that he’s a complete loser who pretends what he’s not and with one fateful night, a complete stranger in his backseat will change his outlook in life…forever!

The better half of another prominent actor, Jada Pinkett Smith (Enemy of the State) breathes life to US Justice Department Prosecutor named Annie Farrell who gets tangled into the crazy cat and mouse chase of Vincent and Max! I used to think that the conversation with the Prosecutor and the Driver was nonsensical; she works for the government and easily shares details however small with a stranger which is not proper and only gave an impression of flirting. She had a few lines here but with an intention to let it linger a bit longer as she runs for her valued life…

Mark Ruffalo is LAPD Detective Ray Fanning withdrawn moreover looked stupid analyzing his crime scene seeing him look so perplexed how he tracks down his perpetrator. I know Mark can do better than this he was great in “What Doesn’t Kill You” and “Shutter Island”.  He’s a cop doing his job plain and simple! To add, fan favourites Javier Bardem (Beautiful) and Jason Statham (Transporter) adds more credible casting credits to the movie’s line-up!

Director Michael Mann (Heat) delivers another nail biting, edge of your seat thriller! His films are great in its simple sense always tackling the same dramatic, gritty ambiance that gives elements to combine into a powerful performance!

The tone dictates real life scenarios that enhance the take in the film’s premise. Michael does instill instinct in his work; he is a perfectionist that gives precedence to the output of a given project. To add, shot in high definition cameras it helps delivers the city of Los Angeles’s backdrop, dark alleys, clubs and city skyline at night that hides more than what we see in general. There is melancholy and hostility in every corner that encompasses the whole dynamic of the two main actors for they serve as our eyes in the small world they live in.

It was an original story and that’s what I miss in the movies we watch nowadays. They are full of visual effects and CGI which shrouds the needed intellectual or even a meaningful performance from the cast. That is why Writers Stuart Beattie and Frank Darabont deserved their awards for the story and screenplay.

Characters were given months to train and understand the role they have to play, it was not something adapted compared to films that came from a book, TV or a remake which gives it something more to work on. Here, all starts from scratch and I believe it’s an even more daunting task and to execute.  Anyone can argue about my impression that even other films will have the same regimen right? True, but these stories came in straight from the actual writers which makes it more interesting to watch.

One thing was coherent is that the Editing team of Jim Miller and Paul Rubell had nominations for both the Oscars and BAFTA Awards. Cinematography Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron even won the award! Intensively detailed and captured city settings that focused on digital cameras that gave the noir ambiance of a crime filled night! James Newton Howard brings life in every scene especially with the best moment of the film making it more explicit to the senses. One of the most creative composers around!

The coyotes in the lonely high ways background signify poetic justice to the story that makes the experience more tangible! Rock sensation Audioslave plays their “Shadow of the Sun” hit that gave me goose bumps just to experience the inevitable climax! As explained by Michael and Tom, this scene shows how these wild animals roam around freely at this time of hour that gives them an opportunity to own the streets, predators that will wreak havoc on anything, anyone who stands in their way which gives connection and makes it full circle to Vincent’s line or work. Well, that’s the way I understood their statements.

Signed, sealed delivered for the entire cast and crew, a remarkable film boasting great talent with great work ethic. Michael Mann is a workaholic; he brought this film from a tireless anticipation of making it perfect for the big screen. Truly remarkable! I know I’ve been lambasting Tom with his egocentric films and portrayals but he’s a great actor nevertheless and this film proves why even more!

Vincent and Max will be tested one final time to step into the light and see who they really are! With this parting lyric “and I can tell you why people die alone…” from Chris Cornell, this film will leave you breathless!


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