Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mann's Night of "Fates Intertwined"

Since it was announced this month that Michael Mann's 2004 film, Collateral, was coming out in Blu-ray Disc on March 30th, I thought that I'd resurrect (and update) an old review of it I wrote 5 years ago. It also seemed nice timing since the events in the film occur over one January night in L.A. BTW, I happen to really hate Paramount's bad Photoshop re-do for the BD's cover art (see below after the break). What were they thinking!.

When a master of any particular genre returns to it, it's usually to the satisfaction of the fans of that maestro or the genre. Thankfully, such is the case here with the 2004 film, Collateral. With director Michael Mann returning to Los Angeles with another crime thriller, using a fine script by writer Stuart Beattie, it's the fans of both the director and the genre who reap the benefits. As well, Mann-aficionados will appreciate him coming back to this familiar tuft without attempting what is now the movie studios' brain dead pastime: re-making successful original work. Luckily, this is not a regurgitation of his great 1995 ensemble saga, Heat. Collateral brings a more intimate, confrontational drama to bare, played out across the nocturnal expanse of ethnically diverse L.A. Whereas Heat had two groups, the criminals and the police, directly facing off. Here, law enforcement is on the sidelines... always a step behind and waiting to pick up the pieces of this two man conflict. And when one sharp street detective starts putting the puzzle together, the director unleashes one surprising masterstroke scene that quickly tells the audience he's not going to repeat himself.

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  1. Excellent review, Michael. I think this is slated for a Blu release over here in the next month or so. Like Heat, it's a film which repays multiple viewings.

  2. I haven't seen this since it was in the theaters. I guess I need to see it again.

  3. Excellent review! I really love this film and it was nice to see Cruise playing a bad guy for a change. It's so hard to see him as a character nowadays but by the time he kills those would-be robbers in the alleyway, I had forgotten that it was Cruise and believed him as his character.

    And I think that Jamie Foxx should only do Mann films. I normally can't stand his acting - it seems way too mannered at times but Mann seems to be able to bring the best out of him on the films they do together.

  4. Thank you for this review, cousin. It's excellent, indeed. Although I do think Los Angeles at night looks amazing in the movie, and Mann's directing did nothing but amaze me; I think you've got to be an angelino to appreciate that fully... or, at least, know Los Angeles.

    It reminds me I should take a trip there someday... perhaps soon!

  5. Steve: I'm looking forward to see how good the BD print of this looks. You and I are you in the same boat as to how it repays with each viewing, my friend.

    Naomi: I remember well seeing this in the movie theater (around the time of my birthday, at an AMC theater in Torrance, CA). It's one of those that imprints well.

    J.D.: same here with Cruise's performance, in the film and the alleyway. As Mann would have demanded, he's so precise with his gun-craft in that sequence! And that's a good point in regard to Foxx's performances in the director's films (you can spot the influenced in the Peter Berg's film, THE KINGDOM, and Foxx's role).

    Poncho: there were aspects of this film that amaze even us Angelinos in how the man captured this city. And, if you can visit us, PCN and I will greet you with open arms, and be sure to give you the grand tour, cousin.

    Thank you all for your very kind words and comments.

  6. Arghhh!!! Director Michael Mann is coming Monday evening to the place I work at, and I won't be there! He will discuss his film ''THE INSIDER", and I'll still be on the plane flying home from S.F. Man, this sucks!