Great writing can make decent actors seem really good. Paired with great directing, the actors will come off as superb. Collateral has all the makings of a masterpiece with actors who usually don’t appear in masterpiece films. Thanks in part to director Michael Mann and screenwriter Stuart Beattie. Not that the three main talents aren’t good actors, but they’re usually known for either big budget blockbusters or comedies.
Collateral has a little bit of both in its makeup. It’s an action-packed thriller with Jamie Foxx realistically easing the tension every once in awhile. But he also brings levity making the ride just as fun.
Foxx plays LA taxi driver, Max, who is offered $600 by a stranger named Vincent (Tom Cruise) to make five stops. What Max doesn’t know is that Vincent is a hit man and Max is now forced into being Vincent’s ride to each hit.
Throughout the night Max and Vincent develop a sort of relationship. Max is a guy who has big dreams but is afraid to take the first step, while Vincent is a doer. He tries to teach Max that life is too short to be afraid. As much as Max hates Vincent, his encounter with him is making an impact.
There’s something about Cruise in this movie. He’s creepy and mysterious, yet likable enough to want to know more about his backstory. We never really get much, but we don’t feel cheated out of it either. Another testament to the filmmaking–to make the audience understand an entire character’s depth without giving any actual information.
Collateral is one of those few movies you watch and feel like the whole thing might as well be wrapped up in a nice bow. It’s so cohesive to itself, and so simple and pure that nothing seems out of place or distracting. Poetic, even. The film also happens to boast both Crusie and Foxx’s best performances to date. Craftily made, Collateral is as perfect an action thriller as you will ever get.