Collateral (film)

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Collateral (Movie).jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMichael Mann
Produced byMichael Mann
Julie Richardson
Written byStuart Beattie
Music byJames Newton Howard
CinematographyDion Beebe
Paul Cameron
Edited byJim Miller
Paul Rubell
Distributed byDreamWorks (United States)
Paramount Pictures (Worldwide)
Release date(s)
  • August 6, 2004 (2004-08-06)
Running time120 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million
Box office$217,764,291[1]
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Collateral (Movie).jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byMichael Mann
Produced byMichael Mann
Julie Richardson
Written byStuart Beattie
Music byJames Newton Howard
CinematographyDion Beebe
Paul Cameron
Edited byJim Miller
Paul Rubell
Distributed byDreamWorks (United States)
Paramount Pictures (Worldwide)
Release date(s)
  • August 6, 2004 (2004-08-06)
Running time120 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$65 million
Box office$217,764,291[1]

Collateral is a 2004 American action thriller film directed by Michael Mann from a screenplay written by Stuart Beattie, and starring Tom Cruise as a contract killer and Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver who finds himself his hostage. The film is set in Los Angeles, California in January 2004, and the supporting cast includes Jada Pinkett Smith and Mark Ruffalo. Foxx and Cruise's performances were widely praised, with Foxx being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


On January 24, 2004, a cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) is a man working to earn enough to purchase his own limousine business company, and is currently driving a U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) to her office where she prepares for an indictment on a drug case. Even though she wants to tip him for driving safe and fast and being nice, he refuses and tells her to keep the money "to buy herself something special". She takes a liking to Max and gives him her business card.[N 1]

A businessman named Vincent (Tom Cruise) enters the cab next, giving Max $600 for chauffeuring him to five appointments and wait for him after each appointment. As Max waits at the first stop, Vincent enters an apartment complex and shoots drug dealer Ramón Ayala. Ayala unexpectedly falls out of the window directly onto the cab, forcing Vincent to reveal himself as a hitman. He coerces Max to hide the body in the trunk, clean up the car and continue with their arrangement. However, Max is pulled over by police due to damage to Max's cab from Ayala's impact, but just before the officers can investigate, they are summoned to a higher priority call.

Vincent, concerned about Max, then leaves Max tied to the steering wheel in an alley, as he murders a defense attorney named Sylvester Clarke. Max asks a group of young men passing by the cab for help, but rather than trying to help him, one of the thugs steals Max's wallet. The young thug also take Vincent's briefcase but Vincent returns and kills him and his buddy, much to Max's horror.

Vincent brings Max to a jazz club to drink with club owner Daniel Baker (Barry Shabaka Henley) after it closes. Max witnesses Vincent execute Baker when he incorrectly answers a question about Miles Davis and suffers a panic attack. Vincent then insists Max visit his mother Ida (Irma P. Hall) in the hospital to avoid breaking routine. He pretends to be Max's colleague and develops a rapport with Ida, which upsets Max, who runs out with the briefcase and tosses it onto the freeway. With his target list destroyed, Vincent forces Max to meet drug lord Felix Reyes-Torrena (Javier Bardem), threatening to murder Max's mother otherwise. Posing as Vincent, Max meets with Felix and successfully acquires a USB flash drive listing the last two targets. Plugging the flash drive into the cab's computer, Vincent and Max acquire the details of the next target, Korean gangster Peter Lim, who is at a nightclub.

Meanwhile, LAPD detective Ray Fanning (Mark Ruffalo) uncovers the connection between the three victims and reports his finding to FBI special agent Frank Pedrosa (Bruce McGill), who identifies the targets as witnesses in a federal grand jury indicting Felix tomorrow. In retaliation, Felix has hired Vincent to kill all five key witnesses. Pedrosa assembles a force to secure witness Lim and converges on the crowded nightclub simultaneously with Vincent, who in turn is being followed by Felix's men. Vincent manages to execute all of Lim's guards, Felix's hitmen and Lim himself, before exiting the club amidst the chaos. Fanning rescues Max and smuggles him outside, but is shot and killed by Vincent, who beckons Max back into the cab.

Following their getaway, the two get into a bitter argument over their lives and Fanning's murder by Vincent. Max openly calls out Vincent for being a sociopath, while Vincent derides Max for being too passive with his life and following his routine. Max finally snaps, refusing to listen at Vincent's orders, and speeds through the empty streets, daring Vincent to shoot him, and deliberately crashes the cab. Vincent takes off on foot before a policeman arrives at the wreck and notices the corpse (drug dealer Ramón Ayala) in the trunk.

Max spots Annie's profile on the cab computer and realizes she is Vincent's final target. He overpowers the policeman and takes Vincent's gun before running to Annie's building and her office. He phones her using her business card but the signal cuts off during the call, but manages to get into her office and saves her by shooting Vincent, allowing them to escape. Max and Annie board a metro rail train with Vincent in pursuit, cornering them in the train.

Boxed in and left with no other option, Max makes his last stand. Firing blindly as the train lights flicker, Max mortally wounds Vincent in a shootout while emerging unscathed. Vincent slumps into a seat and dies as he repeats an anecdote heard earlier about a man who died on a train and went unnoticed for six hours. Max and Annie get off at the next station, in the dawn of a new day, with the rampage over.


  • Tom Cruise as Vincent, a professional hitman hired by middlemen to kill four witnesses and a prosecutor. Russell Crowe was considered for the role.
  • Jamie Foxx as Max Durocher, a taxi driver whom Vincent employs to drive him to the locations of the hits. Adam Sandler was considered for the role.
  • Jada Pinkett Smith as Annie Farrell, the lawyer prosecuting Felix Reyes-Torrena.
  • Mark Ruffalo as Ray Fanning, an LAPD detective on the tail of Vincent and Max.
  • Peter Berg as Richard Weidner, Fanning's partner.
  • Bruce McGill as Frank Pedrosa, an FBI agent staking out Felix Reyes-Torrena's club.
  • Irma P. Hall as Ida Durocher, Max's mother.
  • Barry Shabaka Henley as Daniel Baker, a jazz club owner and one of the witnesses.
  • Richard T. Jones as traffic cop #1
  • Klea Scott as Zee, one of Pedrosa's team members.
  • Bodhi Elfman as young professional man
  • Debi Mazar as young professional woman
  • Javier Bardem as Felix Reyes-Torrena, a Mexican cartel drug lord who hires Vincent
  • Emilio Rivera as Paco, one of Felix's bodyguards and hitmen.
  • Jamie McBride as traffic cop #2
  • Thomas Rosales, Jr. as Ramon Ayala, a low-level player in the exotic substances business and one of the witnesses.
  • Inmo Yuon as Peter Lim, the owner of the club Fever and one of the witnesses.
  • Jason Statham as airport man; some believe this character is meant to be Frank Martin, Statham's character from The Transporter series.
  • Angelo Tiffe as Sylvester Clarke, a former criminal attorney who represented Ramone and one of the witnesses.


When he was 17 years old, Australian writer Stuart Beattie took a cab home from Sydney airport, and had the idea of a homicidal maniac sitting in the back of a cab with the driver nonchalantly conversing with him, trusting his passenger implicitly. Beattie drafted his idea into a two-page treatment entitled "The Last Domino," then later began writing the screenplay. The original story centered around an African-American female cop who witnesses a hit, and the romance between the cab driver and his then librarian girlfriend. The film has limited resemblance to the original treatment.

Beattie was waiting tables when he ran into friend Julie Richardson, whom he had met on a UCLA Screenwriting Extension course. Richardson had become a producer, and was searching for projects for Edge City, Frank Darabont, Rob Fried and Chuck Russell's company created to make low budget genre movies for HBO. Beattie later pitched her his idea of "The Last Domino." Richardson pitched the idea to Frank Darabont, who brought the team in for a meeting, including Beattie, and set up the project under Edge City. After two drafts, HBO passed on the project. At a general meeting at DreamWorks, with executive Marc Haimes, Beattie mentioned the script. Marc Haimes immediately contacted Richardson, read the script overnight, and DreamWorks put in an offer the following day.

Collateral sat on DreamWorks' development books for three years. Mimi Leder was initially attached to direct, it then passed on to Janusz Kamiński. It wasn't until Russell Crowe became interested in playing Vincent that the project started generating any heat. Crowe brought Michael Mann on board, but the constant delays meant that Crowe left the project. Mann immediately went to Tom Cruise with the idea of him playing the hitman and Adam Sandler as the cabbie.

Beattie wanted the studio to cast Robert De Niro as Max (once again making him a taxi driver, though the exact opposite of Travis Bickle). However, the studio refused, insisting they wanted a younger actor in the role.

Mann chose to use the Viper FilmStream High-Definition Camera to film many of Collateral's scenes, the first such use in a major motion picture. There are many scenes in the film where the use of a digital camera is evident, in particular, scenes where the Los Angeles skyline or landscape is visible in the background. One event of note was the filming of the coyotes running across the road; the low-light capability allowed Mann to spontaneously film the animals that just happened to pass, without having to set up lighting for the shot. Mann had previously used the format for portions of Ali and for his CBS drama Robbery Homicide Division and would later employ the same camera for the filming of Miami Vice.[2] The sequence in the nightclub was shot in 35 mm.

Early drafts of Collateral's script set the film in New York City. However, later revisions of the script moved the film's setting to Los Angeles.


The Collateral soundtrack was released on August 3, 2004, by Hip-O Records.[3]

Track listing[edit]

Collateral: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1."Briefcase"  Tom Rothrock2:07
2."The Seed (2.0)" (Extended Radio Edit)The Roots, Cody Chesnutt4:13
3."Hands of Time"  Groove Armada4:19
4."Guero Canelo"  Calexico3:00
5."Rollin' Crumblin'"  Tom Rothrock2:21
6."Max Steals Briefcase"  James Newton Howard1:48
7."Destino De Abril"  Green Car Motel5:15
8."Shadow on the Sun"  Audioslave5:43
9."Island Limos"  James Newton Howard1:33
10."Spanish Key"  Miles Davis2:25
11."Air on the G String"  Johann Sebastian Bach5:46
12."Ready Steady Go (Korean style)"  Paul Oakenfold4:48
13."Car Crash"  Antonio Pinto2:19
14."Vincent Hops Train"  James Newton Howard2:02
15."Finale"  James Newton Howard2:18
16."Requiem"  Antonio Pinto1:56
Total length:

The soundtrack also features the song "Iguazú" written by Gustavo Santaolalla.


Critical response[edit]

The film received positive reviews, with particular praise going to Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx's performances. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 86% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 226 reviews. The critical consensus states that "Driven by director Michael Mann's trademark visuals and a lean, villainous performance from Tom Cruise, Collateral is a stylish and compelling noir thriller." [4] On Metacritic, the film had an average score of 71 out of 100, based on 41 reviews. Tom Cruise went on to garner critical acclaim, while Foxx received several award nominations.[5] Richard Roeper placed Collateral as his 10th favorite film of 2004. The film was voted as the 9th best film set in Los Angeles in the last 25 years by a group of Los Angeles Times writers and editors with two criteria: "The movie had to communicate some inherent truth about the L.A. experience, and only one film per director was allowed on the list".[6]

Box office[edit]

The film opened on August 6, 2004, in 3,188 theaters in the United States and Canada and grossed approximately $24.7 million on its opening weekend, ranking #1 at the box office.[7] It remained in theaters for 14 weeks and eventually grossed $101,005,703 in the U.S. and Canada. In other countries it grossed a total of $116,758,588 for a total worldwide gross of $217,764,291.[1]


Academy AwardsAcademy Award for Best Supporting ActorJamie FoxxNominated
Academy Award for Best Film EditingJim Miller and Paul RubellNominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music AwardsTop Box Office FilmJames Newton Howard and Antonio PintoWon
American Society of CinematographersOutstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical ReleasesDion Beebe and Paul CameronNominated
Art Directors GuildFeature Film – Contemporary FilmDavid Wasco, Daniel T. Dorrance, Aran Mann, Gerald Sullivan and Christopher TandonNominated
BAFTA AwardBest CinematographyDion Beebe and Paul CameronWon
Best Actor in a Supporting RoleJamie FoxxNominated
David Lean Award for DirectionMichael MannNominated
Best EditingJim Miller and Paul RubellNominated
Best Original ScreenplayStuart BeattieNominated
Best SoundElliott Koretz, Lee Orloff, Michael Minkler and Myron NettingaNominated
Broadcast Film Critics AssociationBest Supporting ActorJamie FoxxNominated
Best Film-Nominated
Black Reel AwardsBest Supporting ActorJamie FoxxWon
Best Supporting ActressJada Pinkett SmithNominated
Golden Globe AwardsBest Supporting ActorJamie FoxxNominated
MTV Movie AwardsBest VillainTom CruiseNominated
Saturn AwardBest ActorTom CruiseNominated
Best DirectorMichael MannNominated
Best Action or Adventure Film-Nominated
Best WritingStuart BeattieNominated


  1. ^ In an HBO film review, director Michael Mann stated that the film takes place on the night of January 24–25, 2004, from 6:30 p.m. to 5:40 a.m.; a subway station LED sign seen in the film confirms this.


  1. ^ a b "Collateral (2004)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Miami Vice in HD". Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Collateral:Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". UME:Universal Music Enterprises. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "Collateral". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Collateral". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  6. ^ Boucher, Geoff (August 31, 2008). "The 25 best L.A. films of the last 25 years". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Collateral (2004) – Weekend Box Office". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 

External links[edit]