<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysLos Angeles cab-driver Max (Jamie Foxx) has a dream: to end a decade’s drudgery, set up a limo-rental company, and find some time for himself in the Maldives. And one evening, he realises his fare from LAX airport could be his dream girl: Annie (Jada Pinkett Smith) is sexy, smart – a prosecuting attorney, no less – and sassy enough to hand him her card when he drops her downtown. He’s still reliving their conversation as his next customer – the natty, needlessly provocative and patronising Vincent (Tom Cruise) – starts trying, against regulations, to hire Max’s chauffeuring skills for the whole night. The temptation of fast money wins out, and while Max sits snacking outside the first of Vincent’s stop-offs, the dream turns into a nightmare: his client’s on a killing spree, needs transport, and isn’t about to let Max go off telling tales…
If it’s genre fare you want, there’s very little on offer better than this taut, tight, bluesy urban noir. Right from Max and Annie’s opening duet, it’s clear Mann’s happy on his home turf: the dialogue’s crafted with as much imagination and expertise as the action scenes, while the acting is excellent throughout (Mark Ruffalo, Peter Berg and Bruce McGill also impress as cops tracking Vincent’s bloody trail, while Javier Bardem has a nice cameo as the hitman’s employer). Some elements (as when a check on the cab is dropped thanks to a timely call to the cops) are contrived, but that comes with the territory; at least Mann’s close attention to detail makes it all credible according to its own very suspenseful plot logic and pacing. Along the way, he also provides another existential riff on his favourite themes of professionalism, pride, responsibility and the need to take active choices. In short, this cool, clever, elegant piece of precision-engineering is as intelligent, engrossing and exciting as you’d expect from the maker of ‘Thief’ and ‘Heat’. I loved it.
Fri Sep 17 2004