I have to admit I was excited. Firstly movies about assassins can be kinda cool (think Grosse Pointe Blank, Assassins). Secondly: Tom Cruise as a bad guy? Wow. Has he even done that since Interview With The Vampire?

CollateralIt turns out Collateral is both as I’d hoped and disappointing at the same time. It’s all there: seductive cinematography that pretends to be haphazard; soliloquies on life and death as delivered by a detached Cruise; the inevitability of death as night turns to day. But much of the running time felt like a film simply going through the paces – albeit well. Full of promise, Collateral soon slides into predictable territory.

That being said, the ride is entertaining. I’d just hoped for more.

Cruise is good, and always seems the most relaxed of actors when he’s playing cool, confident characters. Jamie Foxx is great in a prelude to his much praised performance as Ray Charles in Ray. The current man of the moment, Mark Ruffalo, is wasted, however, and god only knows why he agreed to this part…

As often happens in films like these, the cops trying to work out what’s going on is kinda boring. I often wonder if it’s really necessary to have to watch characters get up to speed with the audience. Open Water was another recent example of a film being dragged down by this kind of narrative.

With the exception of the nightclub scene, the action is well handled and realistic – when someone fires a gun for the first time in their life, it’s bound to be an awkward and uncoordinated affair. Unfortunately the further into the film we get, the less likely the scenarios.

Collateral is solid entertainment, if a little long.

Rating: 3.0 stars
Review by Stuart Wilson, 15th March 2005
Hoopla Factor: 2.5 stars

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