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Collateral (2004) July 31, 2005

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Quality is what Michael Mann is, even when he’s doing a run-of-the-mill action thriller. That’s what this would be if it didn’t have him at the helm, with the star-power of the Cruiser to back things up.

After the sprawling mess that was Ali, it’s good to see Mann back with a simple story in a condensed timeframe. But what a story. Full credit to writer Stuart Beattie for finding a new angle on the assassin thriller and one which takes full advantage of the director’s knowledge of LA. The city of angels never looked so good, oozing with sleek cool as we follow cabbie Jamie Foxx on his unfortunate pick-up. Mann’s attention to detail is extraordinary: the small things, the close-up’s add so much to the character detail, immersing you in an urban nightmare that is at once Hollywood but plausible. My estimation of Tom Cruise increases year after year. You want to hate the guy, but you just can’t. He’s damn good and very refreshing in a bad guy role. In a largely two-man show, his chemistry with the truly outstanding Jamie Foxx captures your attention from the moment he steps into the cab – providing ample opportunity for LA anecdotes and Mann’s favourite exploratory reflections.

Collateral deserves more lasting attention than it received. The film was almost universally praised by critics and everyone who saw it, but soon forgotten and can now be found in the bargains going for £7. It looks and feels like an action-thriller and it does go a bit Terminator in the final act, but the whole thing is such a sleek package and an original take on the urban hitman genre brought right-up close to everyday city life.

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