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Collateral (film)

Theatrical poster
Directed by Michael Mann
Produced by Michael Mann
Julie Richardson
Written by Stuart Beattie
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Dion Beebe
Paul Cameron
Edited by Jim Miller
Paul Rubell
Parkes/MacDonald Productions
Edge City
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures (under Universal Pictures) (North America)
Paramount Pictures (International)
Release dates
  • August 6, 2004 (2004-08-06)
Running time
120 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million
Box office $217.8 million[1]

Collateral is a 2004 American neo-noir crime thriller directed by Michael Mann and written by Stuart Beattie. It stars Tom Cruise cast against type as a contract killer and Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver who finds himself his hostage during an evening of the hitman's work. The film also features 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.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Music 3.1
      • Track listing 3.1.1
  • Reception 4
    • Critical response 4.1
    • Box office 4.2
  • Awards 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


On January 24, 2004[N 1], friendly Los Angeles cab driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) is working to earn enough to start his own limousine business. One of this evening's fares is U.S. Justice Department prosecutor Annie Farrell (Jada Pinkett Smith). On the drive to her office, they strike up a conversation as a result of a bet on what route will get her downtown the fastest. She takes a liking to Max and leaves him with her business card.

Max's next fare is a businessman named Vincent (Tom Cruise) who exits the building just after Annie entered. Vincent is impressed by Max's skill at navigating the streets of LA along with his cab's cleanliness and offers Max $600 to drive him for the entire night, against regulations. Max reluctantly agrees, as the money is too good to pass up. As Max waits at the first stop, a man falls onto the cab roof from above. Vincent has killed his first of five marks for the night, drug dealer Ramón Ayala, and is forced to reveal himself as a hitman. He coerces a terrified Max into hiding the body in the trunk, cleaning up the car and continuing with their arrangement.

Vincent, concerned about Max leaving, leaves him tied to the steering wheel in an alley, as he goes to kill a defense attorney named Sylvester Clarke. Max sounds his horn and flashes his lights, attracting the attention of a group of young men whom he asks for help, but rather than trying to help him, one of the thugs takes Max's wallet and Vincent's briefcase. However, Vincent returns and kills him and his friend, much to Max's horror. At a gas station, Vincent tells Max they're ahead of schedule and offers to buy him a drink at a jazz club he likes. The club owner and trumpet player Daniel Baker (Barry Shabaka Henley) turns out to be Vincent's third mark and, after the club closes for the night, Vincent kills him in front of Max who had thought they were there just to share a drink and a conversation about jazz music. Max tells Vincent that he wants out, but Vincent assaults him, threatening to kill him if he refuses to obey.

Back at Max's cab, Max's boss, who keeps constantly calling Max over the radio regarding his whereabouts, informs Max that his mother Ida (Irma P. Hall) is trying to reach him. Max tells Vincent that his mother is hospitalized due to an illness and that he visits her every night. Vincent insists Max doesn't break his routine and goes to the hospital with him, pretending to be Max's colleague. Vincent quickly bonds with Ida, who takes a liking to him as he gives her some flowers. Betrayed and upset, Max decides to make a run for it, grabbing Vincent's briefcase on the way out. Vincent quickly gives pursuit over a pedestrian bridge as Max tosses the briefcase onto the freeway. With his target list destroyed, Vincent forces Max to meet drug lord Felix Reyes-Torrena (Javier Bardem) to regain the lost information on his last two marks, threatening to murder Ida otherwise. Posing as Vincent, Max meets with Felix and successfully acquires the information on a USB flash drive. Using the cab's computer, Vincent can see 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 for the following day. 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 kill all of Lim's bodyguards, 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 start trading personal insults and criticisms. Vincent mocks Max for his lack of ambition, while Max attempts to shame Vincent for caring nothing for human life. This escalates into an argument that prompts Max into deliberately crashing the cab. However, both survive and Vincent escapes. A police officer arrives at the wreck to help, ultimately noticing Ayala's corpse in the trunk and starts to arrest Max, who at first surrenders, relieved that all is over, but then spots Annie's profile on Vincent's computer and realizes that she is Vincent's final target. He overpowers the policeman and takes Vincent's gun before running off to try to warn Annie before Vincent finds her.

A tense hunt ensues as Annie is trapped in the office but Max manages to get to her, saving her just in time by wounding Vincent, allowing them to escape on foot. While being pursued by Vincent, Max and Annie attempt to elude him by boarding a metro rail train, but they end up cornered. Boxed in and left with no other option, Max makes his last stand. As they fire blindly at each other, Max mortally wounds Vincent in the dramatic shootout. Vincent, out of ammunition, slumps into a seat and slowly dies as he repeats an anecdote heard earlier in the film about a man who died on a train and went unnoticed for six hours. Safe at last, Max and Annie get off at the next station, in the dawn of a new day.


  • Tom Cruise as Vincent, a professional hitman hired to kill four witnesses and a prosecutor.
  • Jamie Foxx as Max Durocher, a taxi driver whom Vincent employs to drive him to the locations of the hits.
  • 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 cab driver. Sandler later dropped out (due to his work on comedy) and was replaced by Jamie Foxx.

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

Collateral: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Briefcase"   Tom Rothrock 2:07
2. "The Seed (2.0)" (Extended Radio Edit) The Roots, Cody Chesnutt 4:13
3. "Hands of Time"   Groove Armada 4:19
4. "Guero Canelo"   Calexico 3:00
5. "Rollin' Crumblin'"   Tom Rothrock 2:21
6. "Max Steals Briefcase"   James Newton Howard 1:48
7. "Destino De Abril"   Green Car Motel 5:15
8. "Shadow on the Sun"   Audioslave 5:43
9. "Island Limos"   James Newton Howard 1:33
10. "Spanish Key"   Miles Davis 2:25
11. "Air on the G String"   Johann Sebastian Bach 5:46
12. "Ready Steady Go (Korean style)"   Paul Oakenfold 4:48
13. "Car Crash"   Antonio Pinto 2:19
14. "Vincent Hops Train"   James Newton Howard 2:02
15. "Finale"   James Newton Howard 2:18
16. "Requiem"   Antonio Pinto 1:56
Total length:

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


Critical response

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

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]


Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
Academy Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Jamie Foxx Nominated
Academy Award for Best Film Editing Jim Miller and Paul Rubell Nominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Box Office Film James Newton Howard and Antonio Pinto Won
American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron Nominated
Art Directors Guild Feature Film – Contemporary Film David Wasco, Daniel T. Dorrance, Aran Mann, Gerald Sullivan and Christopher Tandon Nominated
BAFTA Award Best Cinematography Dion Beebe and Paul Cameron Won
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jamie Foxx Nominated
David Lean Award for Direction Michael Mann Nominated
Best Editing Jim Miller and Paul Rubell Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Stuart Beattie Nominated
Best Sound Elliott Koretz, Lee Orloff, Michael Minkler and Myron Nettinga Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Jamie Foxx Nominated
Best Film - Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Supporting Actor Jamie Foxx Won
Best Supporting Actress Jada Pinkett Smith Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actor Jamie Foxx Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Villain Tom Cruise Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actor Tom Cruise Nominated
Best Director Michael Mann Nominated
Best Action or Adventure Film - Nominated
Best Writing Stuart Beattie Nominated


  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

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