Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 41
  2. Negative: 0 out of 41
  1. Most of the time we are with Cruise and Foxx, and their interplay is never less than galvanizing.
  2. As a result of Mann's craftsmanship and concern, Collateral crackles with energy and purpose, a propulsive film with character on its mind and confident men and women on both sides of the camera.
  3. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    90
    Hugely entertaining thriller.
  4. The best kind of genre filmmaking: It plays by the rules, obeys the traditions and is both familiar and fresh at once.
  5. 88
    No crime film in years boasts a cooler vibe than Michael Mann's dazzling Collateral.
  6. 88
    This is a rare thriller that's as much character study as sound and fury.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    Shake it all up and you get Collateral, a movie with only one conceivable flaw: its disinclination to break new ground, though no one held that against "The Fugitive" more than a decade of Augusts ago.
  8. Michael Mann's tensely funny and alive Los Angeles night-world thriller, is, in its own twisty way, a very high-stakes buddy movie, yet it doesn't look like one, because it leaps off from a situation more jangled and threatening than we're used to.
  9. Cruise is a man whose youthful cockiness has aged into self-assurance and cool confidence. It's a masterstroke of casting. The dynamism of Collateral, however, comes from Jamie Foxx.
  10. Reviewed by: Colin Kennedy
    80
    Perhaps the best premise for thrills since "Speed," only this time the bad guy’s on board and the battle of wits is more philosophical debate than pop quiz.
  11. Pitched between interludes of anxious intimacy and equally nerve-shredding set pieces, Collateral scores its points with underhand precision.
  12. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Mann vividly captures the nocturnal pulse of East L.A. in this taut, confined game of cat and mouse. In the homestretch the thrills get too generic and farfetched for their own good. But the first two thirds are a knockout.
  13. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    80
    As much a dark, odd couple comedy as it is a quirky, efficient little thriller.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Occupying a dramatic, philosophical and sensory twilight zone that casts a considerable spell, this intensely focused piece soars not only on the director's precision-tooled style but also on the outstanding interplay between leads Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
  15. If Collateral is all formula, it's polished to a fine sheen.
  16. 80
    Shot by shot, scene by scene, Mann, whose recent work includes “Heat” and "The Insider," may be the best director in Hollywood. Methodical and precise, he analyzes a scene into minute components.
  17. Really two movies: a taut, terrific, realistic crime drama, and, by the end, an over-the top, high-tech extravaganza which tries to out-Woo John Woo and turn Cruise into another Terminator.
  18. Stylishly made, if less intellectually resonant than first-rate Mann films like "Ali" and "The Insider."
  19. 75
    Collateral is a small, modest movie writ large by people so talented, they aren't capable of anything less.
  20. The whole movie is something of a joke, a feature-length prank that mixes stark violence and shock humor in the mold of Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." Though it is a far less ambitious entertainment than Tarantino's masterpiece, it has its moments.
  21. 75
    Stylish - if predictable - thriller.
  22. Foxx makes what he does look effortless. He's the reason to see Collateral, as he walks into the frame and walks off with the picture.
  23. Collateral is a good idea for a movie, backed up by expert execution... It's straight-up entertainment, not something to see and then talk about a month later, but definitely something to enjoy.
  24. 75
    Cruise is chillingly credible as the cold, cruel Vincent. And Foxx shows unexpected depth and humanity as Max, whose night encapsulates the cliché about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
  25. The first half is exhilarating, and the rest is a tolerably honourable surrender to Hollywood conventions.
  26. Reviewed by: M. E. Russell
    75
    Devolves into a contrived, coincidence-driven, by-the-numbers thriller in its final act. That's not to say the movie's a failure. It's impossible to dismiss a film that starts out as such a sensuous, existential crime story.
  27. The movie never really gets below that surface. It sticks to the mean streets of Los Angeles without much introspection or analysis. But those surfaces are slick and beguiling.
  28. Reviewed by: Pete Vonder Haar
    70
    After a solid hour and a half, the climax almost seems to have come from a different movie. Collateral is still a hell of a ride, but could've used a smoother landing.
  29. 70
    Like "Heat," Collateral will doubtless go down in film history as the noir marvel it undoubtedly is, but I don't quite buy its characters, and I came out of the theater still wondering what it had to say. Me, I have a soft spot for that old ’60s radical.
  30. 70
    Mann's moody Collateral unravels toward the end, faltering at its conclusion but dispensing enough atmosphere, characterization, and world-weary humanism along the way that audiences would be wise to enjoy the ride without worrying too much about the final destination.
  31. The best thing Mann brings to his picture is a strong sense of time and place.
  32. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Preposterous without being much fun about it. That's a shame: How often do you get to see Cruise play a professional assassin with Bill Clinton's hair?
  33. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    63
    If there was ever an example of a movie's visual language leaving its verbal and narrative components in the dust, this, unfortunately, is it.
  34. 60
    It's essentially an urban variation on "The Hitcher" (1986) with nothing much going on underneath.
  35. 60
    If you boil the psychology of Collateral down to its essence, what you get, mostly, is Vincent badgering Max for not having enough chutzpah -- in essence, for not being enough of a tough guy.
  36. If only all this wonderful talent wasn't in service to a story that pushes credulity beyond the breaking point, perilously close to the realm of farce. Too many coincidences, too much convenient timing, too little honest plot development.
  37. Ruffalo makes a dent as a dogged narcotics detective, and the Spanish superstar Javier Bardem appears as a crime boss. Overall, however, Mann seems content to play games with his fast cars, cool streets, and loud rock, leaving Collateral squarely within the action genre.
  38. Collateral is a slim drink of thin beer, remarkable only as evidence that Mann might have a modern masterpiece in him if he were cut loose and allowed to roam around in his own obsessions.
  39. 50
    Suffice it to say that Cruise never seems right in this part--never as treacherous as he should be, nor as mysteriously tortured. Foxx has his moments, but there's no room for his trademark humor, and we can never quite get our minds around the idea that the hit man has beguiled the cabbie.
  40. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    50
    It's too bad that halfway through, Collateral turns into a series of loud, chaotic, over-the-top action set pieces in which the existentialist Mann proves he's lousy at action.
  41. The director, Michael Mann, remembers the best of film noir pretty well, but it doesn't protect his film against its ultimate Movieland silliness.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 206 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 87 out of 103
  2. Negative: 8 out of 103
  1. Sep 29, 2011
    8
    Veteran Director Michael Mann's "Collateral" is a very smart movie. It silences the audience with rich visuals and carefully chosen words, changing a average story into a amazingly tense one. Full Review »
  2. Jan 13, 2014
    10
    This movie is my all-time favourite. It offers awesome acting from Jamie Foxx and especially from Tom Cruise, in one of the finest performances I've ever seen. It also boasts great dialogue. Combine this with absolutely thrilling scenes and tense moments, and you get a breathtaking, heart-stopping thrill ride from director Michael Mann. A masterpiece. Full Review »
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    10
    Michael Mann's "Collateral" initially piqued my interest because of it's fairly intriguing premise; a cab driver happens to pick up a hitman for a passenger. However, as I watched the film, I realized that there was a lot more to this film than the well written story. The movie features a breadth of captivating performances. Namely, Cruise's badass "Vincent" character and Jamie Foxx's Academy Award-Nominated performance as "Max". Tom Cruise's character is freaking hilarious - this movie features a virtual showcase of Tom Cruise Psychopathic Badassery. Between him and Foxx their chemistry makes for pretty great entertainment and some awesome dialogue too. In terms of technical aspects the film does well at utilizing an arsenal of stylish, yet still subtle camera techniques. Also the film uses a very significant amount of dark lighting to enhance the overall visual quality of the film and the gritty West L.A. setting. The ending sequence of this movie is probably one of the most absorbing scenes I've ever seen - really stressful stuff. Overall, "Collateral" makes for an invigorating experience with a smart story, superb acting, and a poopload of thrills. Full Review »