Take a cab ride with Max. Garrulous in good company, yet discreet, he’s self-effacing, compassionate, intuitive and adaptable.
Silver-haired and silver-suited Vincent’s visibly focussed, driven, sharp and articulate. Yet look more closely and you might notice something slightly different about him. Spitting out words laced with venom and acting in a fashion that only a man in total control can, he’s not the average businessman that you might have initially mistaken him for.
Director Michael Mann allows us quality time with his characters in what is an intentionally unhurried and sensual opening sequence. And they’re characters that writer Stuart Beattie has successfully painted in full colour.
Mann’s pacing, of what is a 120-minute film, is superb. Never getting bogged down in unnecessary back-story the sense of tension, which is well maintained throughout, constantly builds with the growing momentum. It’s also to the veteran director’s credit that he doesn’t allow any sense of Hollywood-movie-contrivance to creep in.
The cinematography is awesome too. The City of Angels, shrouded in night brought to life by vibrant neon-technicolour, looks fantastic. James Newton Howard’s score is also particularly effective.
Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx both produce bravura performances. Cruise as comfortable with darkly comic scenes as with the nuances of a remorseless killer. Foxx, meanwhile, expertly emphasising Max’s personal and emotional arc.
Michael Mann’s films continue to be a real draw. Just like a good jazz player he improvises, plays unexpected off-notes and keeps his audience guessing.
Collateral is one of his finest.
4.5 stars out of 5