Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Collateral (IMDB) (Netflix)

Two actors playing against type—Jamie Foxx as a meticulous taxi driver leading a life of un-enacted ambition and Tom Cruise as a professional assassin, in LA for an evening’s work. Cruise sees Foxx as a brother craftsman, and hires him for the night to help him make his appointed rounds. From the producer and director who gave us Manhunter, Miami Vice, Crime Story, Heat, Last of the Mohicans and Ali, Michael Mann.

His films are known for their masculine grit and style, and “Collateral” has that Michael Mann feeling in spades. Cruise is as cold-blooded and charming as they come, knowing how to keep Foxx cooperating once his secret is out, while Foxx tries equally hard to get inside Cruise’s head. The dialogue, soundtrack and pacing are first-rate, and though the ending might not be the most imaginative, it’s realized with such care that it makes the sale. An enterprise of high quality.