Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Sometimes, when you watch a movie that doesn't quite work though you want it to, you want to reach into it and extract like a pearl the great movie that you think might be hiding inside. I felt that way about Michael Mann's Collateral, the thriller which stars Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.

The great film that Collateral has in it would consist only of Los Angeles at night, shot by Michael Mann on high-definition video in gorgeous super-saturated colors--pulsating reds, smearing oranges, tart yellows, and blues that you can actually taste on your tongue.

It would be a nocturnal city symphony, with no need for dialogue or for its thriller plot. It would have, as Mann himself has said about the movie, "the feel of a lifeboat making a night-time odyssey through the city."

As Mann's dazzling eye guides us through this sprawling, glowing, genuinely exciting city, who needs the fake excitement of drug deals and hit-men?