Collateral: an LA cab driver becomes involved in several murders when fate makes his next fare a contract killer. The casting in the film is great: Jason Statham makes a brief appearance (was disappointed he didn’t resurface), Javier Bardem as a sleazy crooked nightclub owner, and Mark Ruffalo is unrecognisable as a cop (“No way, that dude sounds just like Ruffalo”). There are moments of truly great acting from both leads: Jamie Foxx as a bumbling, almost special / OCD cabbie and Tom Cruise as a stone-cold, experienced, remorseless killer. The entire film’s shot at night, and set over one evening, which gives it a creepy atmosphere and haunting vibe; quiet streets, empty buildings, dark alleys… the lighting, photography, and locations (empty LA is as much a character as anyone else) are all out of this world – although because it’s shot at night, on digital, with such a high ISO it looks very grainy. It all feels quite grounded and immediate during the movie, keeping a steady pace and having a lot of suspenseful moments, but the end leans towards a generic (albeit tense) action movie finale. My only major issue was that loads of things were hinted at, but never explained, particularly with Cruise’s character – is there any point in creating decades of backstory if all you get is a slight glance at the end of a murder? Collateral is a film every bit as polished, planned, sleek and exciting as you’d expect from Michael Mann, and pulls of the thankless task of being a character-driven action film with great ease.
Agreed with everything you said. Small world, I have a movie podcast that covered Collateral recently which is how I found this blog, it’s worth watching the film JUST for how amazing and unique it makes L.A. look with the night shots on digital video, but Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise’s performances here were just masterful. One of my favorites I will come back to every now and then.
I liked how every single shot and location was staged to have maximum impact in the background and middle-ground. The Blu Ray features really help you add appreciation to what, on the surface, looked like a pretty simple and straight-forward film.
I really need to see it on a nicer setup sometime on the blu-ray, I’ve heard it looks awesome and has great commentary!