From The Archives: COLLATERAL (2004).

Posted: September 26, 2010 in Blu-Rays I Own., Movies (C)

I’m watching Collateral right now.  One of my favorites.  Here’s what I wrote about it at the end of last year, when I put up my list of favorite movies of the past decade (it followed Punch-Drunk Love)…

This is another movie that captures Los Angeles the way I’ve experienced it throughout the past ten years, only now we’ve gone over the hill and deep into downtown.  Michael Mann is every bit the equal of PTA when it comes to conjuring up atmosphere, mood, and a sense of place, and in Collateral he’s working with a killer high-concept to carry us through.  Mann also sees uncommon things in familiar  actors – Jamie Foxx plays the introverted cabdriver, adrift in life, who one night gets a course-changing fare in Vincent, an ice-cold contract killer played brilliantly by Tom Cruise.  Yes, I said brilliantly, and I also said iconic.  Vincent is the culmination of intense, work-fixated Mann characters from Thief to Manhunter to Heat, distilled into most existentially dire form.  Vincent has no purpose in life other than his job, and his job is killing.  How do you fight that?  How does Jamie Foxx fight that?  I love how Collateral resolves that question dramatically, among so many other things I love about it – brilliant soundtrack, peerless LA night photography by Dion Beebe, an unbelievable stable of character actors including Bruce McGill, Barry Shabaka Henley, Mark Ruffalo, and Javier Bardem (even scarier than in No Country For Old Men).  A new-crime classic.

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