Cinema Express: Collateral (2004)

On the surface, Collateral does not seem like it would be anything more than the average thriller, but it is. In a wonderful performance, Jamie Foxx welcomes us into his taxi cab with friendly chit-chat. Tom Cruise enters the cab innocently enough, but once we learn that he is a hitman with multiple “stops” to make over the course of the night, events begin to become more sinister. There is some action, most notably at the end, but the movie’s most delicious moments are the conversations between Foxx and Cruise as they drive through nighttime Los Angeles. Shot on digital video, Collateral has a look and feel that is entirely unique. The fascinating stylization is coupled with some intriguing dialogue as well as unanticipated plot twists. I have seen the film three or four times now; it remains new and exciting. In addition, this is a movie that becomes even more alive at night, when we feel that the events could be happening somewhere else, at that very moment. Day or night, Collateral is a must-see thriller.

A-

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