• After licking his wounds a bit from Ali – Michael Mann returns to the crime genre, returns to duality on both sides of the law (Tom Cruise’s Vincent vs. Jamie Foxx’s everyman Max) and returns to Los Angeles (where he made Heat). Mann also forgoes the sprawling biopic for one lean, well-oiled machine of a gun-splattered night here as the backdrop.
  • One of the first big films shot on digital—Mann made a point of this at the time of release talking about how most of the other digital efforts up to that point were trying to simulate the film look—and he was going for something different in the lighting.
  • I always forget Jason Statham is in Collateral as the bag man in the airport.
  • This is a two-hander like most of Mann’s work—again, the epic meeting of good and evil…. slickly tailored designer suits (a trademark), gunshots that echo like in real life (yet another Mann hallmark).

Plenty of cityscape overhead shots as part of the mix here for Mann

  • Few (Fincher), if any, could do darkness like Mann- this is all set during one night, but look at the consistency of the images across the page.
  • All of Mann’s protagonists are experts or artists- “Take pride in being good at what you do” says Foxx’s Max as he charms Jada Pinkett Smith’s Annie character. He gets her phone number in this great little 12-minute short film to open the film

The entire work is sharply written (Stuart Beattie)- Cruise’s Vincent gets most of the great dialogue. He has the Rwandan/Darwin arguments and monologues. He is just a fascinating character (and shares the same name as the pool playing Cruise character who wears a shirt with his own name on it in The Color of Money)- “indifferent”- he is in his crisp grey suit and silver hair- but he is Mike Myers, Jaws, or the Terminator.

  • 2004 is a big year for Jamie Foxx- he’s nominated here and won in 2004 in the lead category for Ray. This is his second film with Michael Mann—and they’d work together again in Miami Vice (2006).
  • It is a Michael Mann film so the ensemble cast is fantastic. Javier Bardem and Mark Ruffalo are in support? Wow. And of course with Mann you get Bruce McGill who is always solid.

At the 58-minute mark Mann has a magnificent cinematic painting – he uses the wider frame canvas here to put Max’s taxi on the left of the frame with the skyline off the right.

Mann does something similarly effective (and beautiful) at the 65-minute mark—Bardem and Foxx’s characters are talking— Mann shoots them separately, but pushes them each up against the edges of the frame (front right for Bardem, front left for Foxx) in alternating shots

It makes it feel like they’re almost on top of each other.


  • The blue day for night dawn is bounced off the buildings at night as the film comes to a conclusion.
  • Recommend/Highly Recommend border.