Sunday, September 05, 2004


  • movie review: Collateral [2004]

    CollateralStarring Tom Cruise as a mysterious hitman named Vincent, Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver named Max, and Jada Pinkett as Annie, a lawyer, Collateral intertwines the lives of these three characters on one characteristically warm Los Angeles evening. Michael Mann has done an admirable job of directing, bringing out tough-as-nail performances from each of the actors. I thought the dialogue was grounded in reality for the most part and avoided anything embarassing. The director of photography captured picturesque images of Los Angeles that at once showed it as a vibrant city and as a lonely one. Tom Cruise, with a grey hair-dye job, is transformed from his usual pretty-boy self, to his character Vincent, a mysterious psychopathic stranger that Jamie Foxx's character Max picks up one evening in his taxi, unbeknownst to him what is in store for him that evening. Vincent is brutal and unforgiving, but also shows himself to be intelligent and determined. Jamie Foxx's character Max is full of dreams of a better life for himself but without the self-confidence or motivation to back it up. Jada Pinkett's character Annie straddles the line between confidence and vulnerability, beautifully revealed in the opening scenes during her conversation with Max in his taxicab. Overall, I was really satisfied with the character development in the film. On the backend of the film, there is a familiar plot guiding the characters and the conclusion of the film somewhat falls into more conventional territory for a film of the 'thriller' genre. I really enjoyed how subtly the film unfolded, slowly revealing details that made the film 'make sense', and avoiding the 'rollercoaster ride' aesthetic that some Hollywood thrillers aspire towards. Overall, it is an impressive film visually, and violent subject matter aside, it is a film that patiently and beautifully develops its characters.

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