Collateral (15)

Directed by Michael Mann, Written by Stuart Beattie
On general release from 17th September 2004

Reviewed by Adam Ford

Michael Mann follows his successes with Heat and Ali to bring us a tense trawl through the Los Angeles nightscape. By taking the nocturnal menace of Taxi Driver and turning it up a notch, he has created a movie that captivates the audience with a rich sensory experience that is sleek and slick without being annoyingly caught-up in its own coolness.

Max (Jamie Foxx) has been 'temporarily' driving cabs for twelve years, constantly putting-off his dream of running a limousine company. It's just another night on the job until he picks up two fares that will change his life. Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a hotshot prosecution lawyer suffering from nerves on the eve of a big case. They strike-up an instant rapport and he gets her number. Next into the passenger seat is lupine hitman Vincent (Tom Cruise) for whom making a killing is just another way of making a living. Taking Vincent hostage he makes stop after stop, picking-off his victims amidst the blues, blacks and harsh neon lights of the big city.

Writer Stuart Beattie deserves great credit for his script, which crackles and sparks in the natural-sounding exchanges between Foxx and Cruise. Unfortunately, the ending is an implausible let-down, and there are times when style triumphs over substance. But the visuals are worth the admission fee alone, especially during the breathtaking choreography of a nightclub scene. This film won't change your life, but it is a great ride.