Starring: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Michael Mann
Running Time: 120 mins
Collateral is an American film about an LA taxi driver who finds himself in trouble when his customer, a hitman, uses him as transport and an accomplice from hit to hit over the course of one chaotic night.
This is a fantastically well-written, engaging and exciting film, hitting pretty much all the marks spot on when it comes to making a really good thriller. With great performances, beautiful directing and cinematography, and a fantastic screenplay, Collateral is both a huge amount of fun to watch, as well as a deeply engrossing story that’s far more intelligent than first meets the eye.
I’m going to start with what I thought was the best part of the film, and that’s the screenplay. Most importantly, it does a great job at providing an exciting and engaging thrill-ride. Whilst I wouldn’t say that it was hugely unpredictable, I was hooked on the chaotic night that unfolds in this film, and that was what made it so exciting.
However, what really makes this screenplay in particular stand out is that it has so many more layers beneath the main narrative. For one, the relationship between the taxi driver, played by Jamie Foxx, and the hitman, played by Tom Cruise, is fascinating. Although it’s always very strenuous, the way that the two characters begin to dig into one another in various enthralling dialogue scenes within the cab is brilliant, and it makes for even more compelling watching, and adds to the emotional intensity of some of the action sequences.
And that’s where I need to give even more praise to Collateral, because it’s a fantastically directed film. Much like 2014’s Nightcrawler, it depicts night time Los Angeles in both a sleek and still unnerving way. The panoramas of the city landscape at night are beautiful, but the prevalence of the sort of dark and shady vibe that you can only get in the deep night in an empty city is fantastic at making this film all the more tense.
Michael Mann does a great job at directing the action sequences too. Whilst the main focus of this film is the thrill of the hitman and the taxi driver’s experiences, there are a few bursts of action, including an impressively-shot scene in a nightclub, and a hugely intense final sequence on a train. There’s not too much action, so don’t go into this film expecting explosions everywhere, but when it does come up, it is fantastic.
Finally, the performances by Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise are great. Jamie Foxx, although I personally didn’t quite buy into the final act of his character’s arc, was very good as our main hero, bringing the fear of the taxi driver centre stage, and still managing to make him a character that you could believe in to find a way to escape this nightmarish ordeal.
However, the real stand-out here is Tom Cruise, who, extremely uncharacteristically, plays a villain. But he’s amazing in the role, and with his intimidating, straight-talking performance, he makes the hitman hugely unnerving, and by far the most unpredictable part of the whole film, which was not only brilliant to see in the film, but also to see that Cruise’s range does expand beyond Ethan Hunt and Maverick to darker, more interesting characters.
Overall, Collateral was a great thriller. It’s not the best I’ve ever seen, but with brilliant directing, two fantastic central performances and a top-notch screenplay, I really enjoyed and was engrossed in the movie from start to finish, and that’s why I’ll give Collateral a 7.9.