A/V Room









Collateral - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

TOM Cruise portraying a hit-man, in a film directed by Michael (Heat) Mann, appears to have struck a chord with US critics, who have hailed Collateral as an unqualified success.

The film opened in America on August 6, 2004, and drew an enthusiastic response from the journalists.

But although the film landed the number one spot - beating competition from M Night Shyamalan's The Village - the film made a relatively small $24.4 million (£13.2 million) during its first three days of release, which marks the second-smallest number one debut this summer.

The figure is also one of the lowest for a Tom Cruise movie and may suggest that audiences aren't so keen on him playing the villain.

We've seen the film, however, and Cruise rocks, as does the direction of Michael Mann.

So, until we deliver our verdict, here's what the US had to say...

Rolling Stone gets the ball rolling by stating that ‘Mann hits a new peak, orchestrating action, atmosphere and bruising humour with a poet's eye for urban darkness’.

While Variety wrote that ‘this intensely focused piece soars not only on the director's precision-tooled style but also on the outstanding interplay between leads Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx’.

The New York Post declared that ‘Collateral has such classy trappings, you're constantly expecting more - but while there may be less here than meets the eye, this is solid stuff in the midst of Hollywood's dog days’.

While Entertainment Weekly declared that ‘Cruise and Foxx are so good together because they allow the two characters to get under each other's skin. They're buddies and enemies at the same time’.

The New Yorker opined that ‘Mann has become a master builder of sequences, the opposite of the contemporary action directors who produce a brutally meaningless whirl of movement’.

While the New York Times wrote: "Pitched between interludes of anxious intimacy and equally nerve-shredding set pieces, Michael Mann's edgy new thriller scores its points with underhand precision."

The praise was continued by USA Today, which referred to it as ‘a stirring two-hour footnote to [Mann's] masterpiece Heat’.

And by the Los Angeles Times, which felt that ‘Collateral crackles with energy and purpose, a propulsive film with character on its mind and confident men and women on both sides of the camera’.

Newsday even went so far as to say that ‘Mann's film makes Tom Cruise fun to watch again, because he occasionally plays someone besides Tom Cruise’.

And the Hollywood Reporter felt that it is ‘a high-concept thriller with no other agenda. Nevertheless, it is quite a ride’.

On a slightly more negative note, was Village Voice, which declared that it is ‘a slim drink of thin beer, remarkable only as evidence that Mann might have a modern masterpiece in him if he were cut loose and allowed to roam around in his own obsessions’.

And the Hollywood Report Card warned: "A pretty cool idea, however, two or three ‘unbelievabilities’ soured the film for me; they might not for you."

But the final few words go to the Chicago Tribune, which described it as ‘an expertly-made thriller’; the Dallas Morning News, which felt it is ‘a suspenseful, jolting and even thrilling ride’; the San Jose Mercury News, which felt that ‘Mann puts Collateral through its paces so elegantly that even the most predictable scenes deliver a wallop’, and, finally, by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which concluded that it is ‘a thing of lean, cool beauty, the movie's a killer showcase for Foxx and Cruise’.

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