Collateral tells the story of a cab driver who is hired by an hit-man to drive him around Los Angeles whilst he does what he is hired to do, kill. Jamie Foxx plays the protagonist cab driver,Max,who has to overcome many obstacles to survive the night and keep himself alive by helping assassin Tom Cruise, who plays Vincent the movies antagonist, complete his jobs. In the end Max saves himself and a female whilst Vincent suffers the consequences of his actions.
Collateral is a typical thriller film that has a sub-genre of action. This is because it contains many of the typical conventions of an action thriller. For example the film contains many moments where tension is high, an example of this is mainly seen throughout the film as the character Max is constantly is in a life-threatening situation. Also the film is set in a city, Los Angeles, this is very common in thrillers. The fact that Max is just an ordinary citizen of the city is a convention in thriller films. The main convention is that there is a protagonist and an antagonist, and the hero must overcome the villain and when they do that it is usually the climax of the film. The action genre of the film is mostly conveyed through the convention of the storyline, Max who is the hero has to overcome the challenges of the villain.
Throughout the movie there are many elements of suspense which is a convention of the thriller/action genre. The first example of this is seen in the first scene of the movie. We firstly see Tom Cruise walking through the airport, which has been edited to make it slow motion. By using this type of editing, the audience learns that this is the main character and he should be closely watched. It also creates a dramatic effect. We then get a quick shot of the other man walking within the airport. The sound during this point is very low and muffled. Then the two bump into each other, the sound of that is heightened which give the audience a little jump, making it the climax of this scene. There is then a shot of their briefcases hitting the floor. After a little chat they pick up each others briefcases and we watch Vincent walk away. This creates suspense as it makes the audience want to know why they exchanged briefcases.
Another scene in the move that creates suspense is the club scene. During this Vincent is looking for another kill. The scene starts with Vincent and Max entering the packed club. There is digetic music which is techno and very upbeat which creates an exciting atmosphere. We also see the police entering the club which creates suspense as we start to wonder if Max will be saved by the police. There are then many cuts which emphasize on the suspense. There is then a huge shoot out and the club-goers start to run though the crowd and everything becomes very fast paced.
The third and final scene that i found suspenseful was one of the last scenes in the movie. This part is the climax to the whole movie, making it instantly suspenseful as the audience have been waiting to see what will happen to the characters.Vincent is trying to till Max and Annie (Jada Pinkett-Smith). They are running and hiding in a moving train. The camera during this scene is very shaky and connotes the feelings of Max and Annie, as they are terrified. The lighting frequently cuts out during this scene as it usually happens on trains, this leaves the audience feeling suspense as they cannot really see much and keep wondering what will happen next. There are many close ups of Max and Vincent which help the audience see their emotions. The music is uptempo and uses the heavy beats of drums. When Vincent catches up with the two there is a shoot-out which happens in a part of the carriage that is not well lit, this again creates suspense as it leaves them wondering who got shot. But in typical thriller style the villain has been shot and the hero has overcome him.