Collateral tells the story of a young taxi driver’s long night, forced to help a hitman kill five targets.
Initially, he’s enthusiastic about the great payoff in working exclusively for the man all night. But soon, he becomes his hostage when he understands the true nature of his journey’s various steps.
Initially apathetic and submissive in his role as a driver, the man develops a ferocious determination alongside the killer. Interested in eliminating a series of witnesses for a gangster boss, he has a specific deadline to complete his work.
A path of death through Los Angeles, from the petty drug dealers’ poorest neighborhoods to the uptown trendy nightclubs. Finally, when the two men break violently, is inevitable to escalate up to a final western-style duel in the subway.
Collateral is a tremendous metropolitan action noir, an entirely nocturnal movie on the road.
It is wonderfully illuminated by the city’s artificial lights and emphasized, scene by scene, by an amazing soundtrack. It goes from the romantic jazz/blues to the loudest modern techno, perfectly in rhythm with a devastating disco shootout.
Jamie Foxx plays one of his career’s best roles. Initially, he seems just one of the many ordinary man night workers in the city of angels. But when he doesn’t play hostage anymore, then decides to fight to the end if he must have to die.
Tom Cruise‘s transformation is even more remarkable, giving up his Hollywood awesome look. He aging his face and graying his hair to become a mature and experienced killer disillusioned with life and people.
An unusual role for the actor, combining the merciless brutality of his murders with an almost poetic passion for music and art, as in the splendid scene in which he faces a famous jazz player.
Michael Mann confirms all his talent in this irrepressible modern action noir. A story told with the slow and harmonious rhythm of blues music song and the unpredictability and wickedness of a jazz ballad.
For the two protagonists, Los Angeles becomes a fierce battlefield after dark, where they must keep moving and adapt to every situation in order to survive.
Collateral was a huge box office success, awarded by critics and the public, grossing over $ 200 million worldwide.
I think this is a more than deserved victory for the great director of Heat and The Last of the Mohicans. He is always able to innovate and change while remaining faithful to his style and the dark and lonely nature of his characters.