It’s been a long time since Tom Cruise was considered a daring actor, at least in the strictest sense of the word. Sure, he’s now famed for risking life and limb in the name of our entertainment by pulling off an increasingly escalating string of dangerous stunts in each of his new big budget blockbusters, but the interesting and immensely talented dramatic performer has largely been lost behind the A-list sheen.
In fact, Cruise has reverted almost exclusively to the action hero archetype ever since his last stab at a straightforward drama ended in disaster when Lions for Lambs bombed at the box office and was greeted tepidly by critics back in 2007. Up until that point, he at least had something of a reputation for tackling roles you wouldn’t expect the biggest name in the business to go anywhere near, showcasing his range and versatility in the likes of Rain Man, Jerry Maguire, Eyes Wide Shut, Magnolia and more.
However, it surely can’t be a coincidence that the one and only time the Mission: Impossible architect played a villain, it yielded one of the best performances of his career. Sporting grey hair and a penchant for mercilessly gunning down those who stand in his way, Cruise is a force of nature throughout Michael Mann’s gritty thriller Collateral, even if it was co-star Jamie Foxx that gathered most of the awards season recognition.
There’s an entire generation of fans that have never seen Tom Cruise break bad before, but that might be about to change now that Collateral has crashed into the Netflix Top 20 most-watched list, and can currently be found as the twentieth most popular title on the platform around the world.