When it comes to naming the most bankable actors in Hollywood, Tom Cruise tops the list. The actor has a rich resume of amazingly diverse roles that only serve to prove his impressive acting skills. In one film, he is a hopeless romantic, while the other sees him as a badass spy deftly dealing with the villains, and every time his portrayal of the character is beyond authentic. And that’s what makes his film, Collateral, which features him as a ruthless hitman, the sixth most-watched film on IMDb TV and the best thing is…it’s free to watch!
When Collateral released in 2004, it was a noir thriller with a novel concept– a hitman sitting in the cab of an innocent cab driver who has no idea about the hell ride he has just accepted. And what made it an excellent watch, a recipient of rave critic reviews, and a hit at the box office was the cast that was chosen to play the lead characters- Jamie Foxx and Tom Cruise. While Cruise established an atmosphere of horror and terror even before his character, Vincent was actually seen killing his victims, Foxx performed an impressive act as the terrified, confused cab driver, Max, who is just a common, ordinary man until he meets a heartless killer.
The story of Collateral starts off on a simple note as we see Max going about his day and picking up rides. He is an expert when it comes to navigating traffic and reaching far-off locations in record time without breaking any laws. Yes, he is a rule-following citizen, who has never broken the law. But that’s all about to change. On the fateful day, he first drives federal prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith) to her office and strikes an engaging conversation with her during the ride.
After he drops her off, with Annie giving him her business card, he picks up Vincent (Tom Cruise). At first glance, he is a seemingly well-mannered gentleman who is understanding about Max not wanting to share his future business plans and his drive to have a better future. All Vincent wants to do is close a major real estate deal and leave Los Angeles as soon as possible. He convinces Max to drive him to several locations during the night by offering him $600, which is enough to convince the initially reluctant cab driver.
But soon it becomes apparent that Vincent is no real estate dealer- he is in Los Angeles to kill five witnesses on his hit list and forces Max to continue driving him to his desired locations. Max tries to resist multiple times, resulting in quite a couple of casualties but it’s the fifth victim’s identity that spurs him into action: Annie.
The third half of the film sees him trying to get to Annie before Vincent does. Whether he is able to save her and actually thwart the attempts of a skilled assassin like Vincent who won’t even bat an eyelash before killing Max as well, is something for you to discover as the film is free for you to binge-watch (or rewatch, if you are someone who has already watched this piece of brilliance) on IMDb TV.
The unique concept of Collateral was developed by screenwriter Stuart Beattie when he was 17-years-old. He conceived the idea while sitting in a cab he took from the Sydney airport. While traveling, he was struck with the idea of a homicidal maniac hailing a cab and innocently conversing with the driver who has no idea about the horror he is about to witness. The film’s script was initially pitched to HBO who declined it. It was then bought by DreamWorks and saw many actors in talks to star as the two leads before the production zeroed in on Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. And the years, as well as efforts to make the film, paid off when the film grossed $24.7 million on its opening weekend itself, smashing box office records.
Collateral was a favorite of critics as well who took to praising the lead cast of Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, recognizing them for perfectly portraying characters that were totally out of their comfort zone, especially for Cruise. In fact, Collateral was really Tom Cruise’s movie all along. He is the killer who is here to get the job done, no matter what, knows how to improvise his plans on the dot, and has an iron-clad, remorseless will that never goes astray. The best thing about his Vincent is that he is no mere killer as he knows the world, has an iconic fashion sense, has a smidge of vanity, and is one hell of a smooth talker – qualities that wouldn’t have been highlighted if Tom Cruise wasn’t the one in the suit, mercilessly killing with a chillingly cold look in his eyes.