‘The Tax Collector’ Review: Shia Labeouf’s Racist Caricature Isn’t the Only Problem Here

‘The Tax Collector’ Review: Shia Labeouf’s Racist Caricature Isn’t the Only Problem Here
Shia Labeouf can give complex, transportive performances, with rough and edgy bursts of messy antics slathered on top of soul. Sadly, “The Tax Collector” is not “American Honey.” In writer-director David Ayer’s bland L.A. crime saga about a pair of drug lord minions caught in the crosshairs of a larger war, Labeouf stares and struts his way through a cartoonish and culturally insensitive performance as a troublemaking thug named Creeper that most certainly did not require him to get his character’s name tattooed across his chest.

If the two-bit Latino burlesque was the only problem with “The Tax Collector,” it would have to work overtime to make up for it. Yet even when “The Tax Collector” finds a steadier purpose as a taut revenge thriller, it’s mostly just a slog of vulgar threats and violent outbursts, trading substance for anger until the credits bring some measure of peace.
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