Collateral

It was known as “the movie in which Tom Cruise played a really bad guy.” That was as far as i knew before we walked in Coronet, our neighborhood theatre that had definitely seen better days.

The giant auditorium was occupied by forty or so audiences. We congregated under the center of the giant dome like a herd of lost sheep huddled together on a stormy plain: stay close enough to be aware of each other’s presence but far enough to avoid eye contacts. City sheeps. 🙂

The mood projected by the movie fit perfectly with this audience.

The opening sequence resembled a 007 movie. Jigsaw of images: Thai newspapers and street signs, airport crowd, expensive looking leather suitcases changing hands between two handsome but rugged looking men in silk Italian suits.

But then, the pace suddenly slowed down. Chaos was replaced by order; high adventure was replaced by mellow dialogs between a black cab driver and his passenger. The enclosed space of the taxi cab allowed the audience to see every facial expression shifts of the two characters, the shifting of the eyes, the pause of an opened mouth, the contemplation of an answer, a smile, a sigh,. It was meticulously done, polished and intimate.

As LA’s neon nights flew passed outside of the taxi cab, like a languid river winding down to the ocean, we rode with the characters in that particular non-007 mood throughout the movie: melancholy and contemplative.

Moments I enjoyed the most:

1. Vincent’s face, as he stared out to the night, contemptuously stated his low opinion for the indifferent inhabitants of LA.
2. The climatic moment when everything broke lose like a volcano eruption. Max and Vincent treated insults as they pointed out the fatal weakness of each other.
3. Vincent’s death. What really killed him? His finally arrived (first?) human connection with a fellow human being, Max? Or Max’s awakening triggered by Vincent’s commentary attack? We’d never know.

A story of the night.

I like that. The sparseness of people, the space that surrounds us seems to grow under the cover of darkness. Our emotional tentacles reached out to people and places, where we wouldn’t or don’t feel safe to do in the day light.