Sommerleigh Pollonais – Senior Writer
For those who grew up watching Sesame Street first of all congratulations on being awesome. Second, do you remember the skit they had where Guy Smiley had a game show called “What’s My Job?” The Tax Collector feels like you’re watching the f&*ked up version of that.
A day in the life of a “tax collector” who works for a local crime lord sees his family’s safety compromised when a new gangster moves in and takes over.
It is directed by David Ayer who’s already done similar movies to this like Harsh Times and End of Watch. Funny enough, it’s one of his most famous films that came to mind while watching this, Training Day, as something about the “personal” nature of the story feels eerily similar to that movie. At least in tone, with THIS story viewed from the criminal side of the fence.
A few of the actors here feel authentic in their roles, with lead Bobby Soto (Narcos: Mexico) as our gangster with a moral compass doing a solid job of making you root for him. Considering the lifestyle portrayed and the violence on display, that’s not an easy thing to pull off. Jose Conejo Martin is also freakin’ terrifying as Conejo (yeah they use his middle name for some reason). I’ve never met a drug lord (thank goodness) but somehow I believe they would be just as monstrous as Martin is in this role.
Now let’s address the tattooed elephant in the room, Mr. Shia LeBeouf. There’s been some backlash against this movie for Shia portraying what people thought was a Latino man in this movie. While I’m all for representation in films and I agree that Hollywood has a nasty habit of whitewashing ethnic characters, that’s not what’s happening here. LaBeouf’s character Creeper, is a white male who grew up in a Latino neighbourhood. Obviously his mannerisms, personality and affectations are going to lean towards that culture. Basically it would be like hating on Eminem for being who he is. Nature vs Nurture and all that jazz.
Now let’s get back to our feature presentation. The movie is fine for what it is. If you’re a fan of David Ayer, or gangster movies in general, you’ll probably enjoy it. That said, this isn’t The Godfather. This movie is as basic and bare bones as it gets. There’s no real character development here. No focus outside of the main lead and his family. No depth given to anyone. And if some people walk away from this feeling offended by seeing yet another “gangsta life” portrayal of so called minorities (I HATE that term when describing ethnic groups who aren’t white, I really do) I honestly wouldn’t blame them.
The Tax Collector is a one and done for me. I don’t see it winning awards like Training Day did. Then again, Denzel Washington winning Best Actor for THAT movie over the stellar work he did prior to it, is a topic for a WHOLE other conversation.
Rating: 5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apoclaypse come.
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