Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
COLLATERAL is a smashing example of how to take a standard story line and turn it into a fresh, provocative, exciting, and even at times, beautiful tale of violence and self-revelation.
First, the “beautiful” comment. I don’t know technically how this film was photographed, but the director and photographer have captured Los Angeles at night in a way that rings true to me, basically because I’ve gotten lost there a few times after landing, dead tired, at LAX.
It feels like the streets of Los Angeles but it does not really focus on recognizable landmarks. The color is dark but not dreary, nor is it shiny or neon-like. It’s just —- night in the city, captured with great clarity and style.
Add to this Tom Cruise’s gray-and-silver paid assassin, and you have a vehicle that balances Cruise’s deadly mission against the career musings of Jamie Foxx’s hapless taxi driver, who just happens to have been selected as Cruise’s driver this fateful night.
The ingredients just seem to work well with this one. I really have a hard time imagining anyone else in the Cruise role, he wears it so well. And Foxx shows his stuff, too, in a completely different fashion.
Another nice thing about the film is that it does not develop into a “buddy” film, but a relationship does develop between the Cruise and Foxx characters, in an entirely believable fashion. The assassin is cool, deadly, and professional. Yet he is objective about his “job.” The cab driver is dreamy and fanciful about his own laid-back ambition — and the two play off each other convincingly.