IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
R | 2h 0min | Crime, Drama | 05 Aug 2004 (Hong Kong) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86% Certified Fresh (Critics), 84% Fresh (Audience)
Director: Michael Mann
Writers: Stuart Beattie
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith a
Movie Tagline: “It started like any other night”
IMDb summary: A cab driver finds himself the hostage of an engaging contract killer as he makes his rounds from hit to hit during one night in Los Angeles.
This movie is two things; first, somehow, it still flies under people’s radars when it shouldn’t. And second; it’s one of Tom Cruise’s best performances to date and proves precisely why he is one of the hardest working and respected actors in Hollywood.
Stuart Beattie’s writing needs to be mentioned as both characters portrayed by Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx were his brainchild. But what a story concept!
If we were to consider all actors active in the early 2000s, Tom Cruise is the only one that comes to mind for the role of the contract killer. What makes Tom Cruise’s Vincent such an intriguing character? Everything from the way he carries himself to the way he looks. We doubt very much that the killer’s actual name is “Vincent” and that he had grey hair, but that is also yet another layer to this fascinating character.
Jamie Foxx deserves a high-five. It’s taken some time to warm to Foxx as an actor. But over the years, he has chosen some demanding roles and seems to come out on top. He’s perfect as the innocent and unassuming cabbie that collides with the devil in the grey suit.
There’s no doubt that Vincent and Max’s fates are intertwined. They are two different people on a collision course destined to crash into each other. But what was it that attracted Vincent to Max in the first place? Vincent made a comment about how he thought Max’s cab was clean and their first discussion seemed to go well. But Max is a reader of people – that is what all cab drivers are. They spend their days looking at their passengers and observing their behaviour without making it obvious. Max could sense something about Vincent. It was there from the beginning.
Not only does Max collide with Vincent, but he also picks up another passenger he has the opposite experience with – Jada Pinkett Smith’s lawyer. And again, Max’s powers of observation do not let him down. He can read who Annie is from a mile away without breaking a sweat. Little does Max know that Annie is yet another person who’s destiny is connected to his through Vincent.
The backdrop of Los Angeles at night is perfect for this story to unfold; the dirty concrete jungle serves as the perfect killing ground for Tom Cruise’s assassin. And as Max drives from one neighbourhood to another, we get to see a seedy side to the city through Vincent who cares very little about who his next victim is. While Max has serious reservations about helping Vincent, he knows that to live through the night; he has to comply – at least for part of the ride.
The film winds down with an exhilarating cat-and-mouse game between the hunter and the hunted. But the lines seem to blur a little here. Maybe Max has what it takes to survive a man whose sole purpose is to kill people. If you haven’t seen this film and you’re reading this, please rent it right now. Then you can come back to this post and comment on how much you loved it.