COLLATERAL(Michael Mann, 2004) Rating: NNNNN
A lot of American directors have tried to copy Hong Kong movies, usually with horrifying results. Michael Mann has taken a close look at John Woo's thrillers and absorbed many of their lessons; Collateral's monumental shootout in an L.A. nightclub shows that.
At his best, Mann is a supremely stylish director (Heat, Manhunter), and this is Mann at his best. He's learned from Asia without changing his own sensibility. Few directors have recognized the potential for villainy in Tom Cruise's chiselled ambition, and casting him as a ruthlessly effi¤cient hit man is a stroke of genius.
The film's moral lessons are largely gibberish, mostly nihilist hipster posturing. But Collateral swims in the voluptuous glitter of the L.A. night - the city itself becomes a character - and even if the DVD is due next week, it's worth seeing this film on the biggest screen available. (December 9, Bloor; December 10-12, Revue)