Friday, September 5, 2008

Black + White Friday: Collateral

Despite being a very gorgeous-looking film (in the way that a sinister and grimy Los Angeles can look gorgeous to those who do not actually live there - and I've been there, I much preferred looking at it on celluloid) I've always thought that Michael Mann's crime-in-a-taxi-cab near-masterpiece Collateral had a very monochrome colour palate and one that would suit this Black+White Friday series in that it's all bright colours on dark backgrounds. The way the skies have such vivid colours and the fluorescent lights of the high rise buildings blares through the darkness all look so beautiful to me. As the movie is lensed by Dion Beebe - the finest cinematographer in "tha biz" right now if you ask me - that should come as no surprise. Let's take a look, shall we?

The very early scenes of Collateral are actually my favourite. Not only for the stunning photography of Los Angeles at dusk, but for the repertoire between Jamie Foxx and Jada Pinkett Smith, an actress I like very much, but who rarely gets the chance to do much. Such an effortless, yet perfect, start to the movie.

I love the juxtaposition between the slum inner-suburbs of Los Angeles and the background of the city. I've mentioned before how I have a crush on movies set in these sorts of parts of LA, haven't I? :P

Doesn't this just feel like the sort of menacing shot of the villain that you would see in an old black and white movie?

This is actually kind of creepy. In the brief amount of time that I was in LA the roads were never this quiet.

Have I mentioned before that I actually really really like Jamie Foxx in this movie? It's a very rare moment when my dislike of him doesn't spill over into everything he does, but here I am watching this movie and thinking he "became" the character of Max far more than he "became" Ray Charles in Ray. And, yes, I think he should have been Oscar nominated for Collateral, but in the lead actor category instead of for Ray. How did anybody buy he was a supporting actor here? I mean, he's in the movie more than Tom Cruise and it starts and ends with him. He's the one with the arc. Ey ey ey.

My favourite shot in the whole movie - in a movie filled with amazing shots, obviously. I seem to have a thing for the sight of actors and palm trees. Don't ask me why.

This scene, when in colour, is a dark hue of blue and it's gorgeous. In black and white it looks scary and far more menacing. It gives me the chills.

If I didn't know better I would've said this was shot in daylight. Which is why the DV photography was so stunning. The colours just explode.

Another shot that looks like it's from an old horror flick. Run, Jada, Run!

I do love how the city is very much in every frame of the movie. It lurks in the background like a secondary villain to Tom Cruise. It's lights so bright yet unhelpful and cruel.


leah said...

nice piece, kam. i agree with pretty much everything you said about 'collateral', which is a damn fine movie, except for foxx having the character of the things that is interesting about the film for me is that neither cruise's killer nor jamie's stuck in a rut cabbie really has an arc; they are two completely disparate elements that come together for a brief time - jaime's mundane decency pitted against cruise's dastardly charming psychopathy - and tho they go through all kinds of shit together, neither is moved by the other's moral stance or has any change of heart...but that's just my take on it, of course! :)

Ben Wilson said...

On an entirely different subject; I saw The Mist last night and must say it affected me in a way any film rarely does. While immensely engrossing, I almost felt traumatised by the end. Anyway, I see the DVD includes a special black and white version of the movie! How unique! Apparently Frank Darabont shares your eye for all things black and white... must admit I do so adore a luscious black and white film.

Glenn said...

I've heard about that, alas I don't wanna watch that movie again. I didn't care for it.

Leah, agreed about the arc per se, but Foxx goes through the most in terms of the whole bag of emotions.

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