Monday, August 5, 2013

Cosmic Coincidence

"Take comfort in knowing
you never had a choice."
There is a chance that you might have come across a creepy taxi driver in the night and just wanted to reach your destination as soon as possible. On the other hand there is also a chance that a taxi driver might have encountered a scary passenger and just wanted to get rid of him at the earliest. Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) couldn't have ever imagined having Vincent (Tom Cruise) as his passenger who took him for a ride of his life. Collateral (2004) shows us how such situations can occur without any warning and once you get into them, there is hardly a way out.

Max has spent the last twelve years driving a cab and the same time dwelling on a dream to have his own company running limos. He is good at communication and perhaps bad at execution as the dream of having limos still lingers. However, he is friendly with the customers and it is noticeable as we see him flirt with Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith), a state prosecutor who ends up leaving her phone number without him even asking for it. Exit Annie, enter Vincent, Max's second passenger, a well-dressed grey haired man. He comes across as a silent type and a nice guy at first but there is something suspicious about him. He offers Max a deal and convinces him to drive him around five different locations through the night and drop him at the airport at dawn in exchange for $600. During their first stop a body lands on Max's cab after Vincent goes up a building to visit someone. It turns out that he is a contract killer hired to assassinate five witnesses who will testify for a high profile case. Max is helpless and has no option but to obey Vincent in order to save his own life. They continue with Vincent's job at different locations with the police working on nabbing them and it's not long before Max tries to get out of this situation but without much luck. He is forced to be a part of it till the end as he comes to know that Annie also gets involved in the situation. The movie managed to keep me engaged as this unorthodox combination of a cold blooded contract killer and a simple taxi driver move from one location to another.
"Since when was any of this negotiable?"
Cruise is wonderful as he plays a merciless contract killer with no regard to human life but at the same time is considerate enough to buy flowers for Max's mother who is in the hospital. Foxx is also superb with his acting and attracts sympathy for the situation that he lands into. A major part of this movie is focused on just the two of them and their conversations while they change locations. However, the plot doesn't convince in the sense that why would an experienced contract killer hire the same cab driver for all his killings during the night? What happens after that is undoubtedly entertaining though. Collateral is a more of a treat to watch because of the direction than its script. 

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