In Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise somehow made dying funny. In Collateral, he somehow makes killing funny. And also sad.
The premise is that Tom Cruise, playing contract killer Vincent, hires Jamie Foxx, playing taxi driver Max, to chauffeur him around LA all night, without, of course, explaining that he will be murdering five people before skipping town. What’s a hardworking, law-abiding taxi driver to do, apart from cooperate? Can he improvise a way out of his horrible predicament?
Collateral seems like it could have been an action movie, but it’s kinda not. Although it features crazy driving, shooting, Tom Cruise running, and a police hunt, it’s a drama as much as it is a thriller. The whole story takes place in one night, and dialog seems to take up the bulk of the screen time. It’s more serene than frantic.
The theme is carpe diem. Don’t postpone your dreams! Don’t be afraid of taking risks! Also: Don’t hire yourself out as a contract killer, because if you do, when you die, no one will care!
I hated Tom Cruise’s hair. Was that style fashionable back in 2004? Clamshell phones were. Those are a joke now that smartphones have taken over the world…
All nitpicking aside, I enjoyed the movie. Sure doesn’t make me want to live in LA, though!
The plot summary on Wikipedia is not bad.
This Roger Ebert review is full of praise.
This review at Pajiba calls the movie melancholy and soulful, claiming it may be the best movie Tom Cruise will ever make.