MBTI: Max Durocher- ISFJ
A perfect example of a character changing through the course of the story without changing their type. 2004’s Collateral not only gave us another display of Michael Mann’s unique way of bringing the crime genre to the real world, it’s also a reminder that as crazy as Tom Cruise is in real life, he can still act.
But we’re not talking about Cruise’s character Vincent, a pretty clear ISTP. We’re talking about Max, Jaime Foxx’s low-key taxi driver that gets put in the unfortunate position of hauling Vincent around LA, for five stops and six murders. And like the ISFJ he is, Max tries to play along as best as he can but there’s only so much anybody can take.
Within the first few minutes, we’ve got a feel for the type of character Max is. Solitary nice guy that’s good at his job. And he’s not just good by way of guessing the routes and getting lucky. This guys knows the ins-and-outs of LA as one might if they did the same job for twelve years.
He compares routes with customers and he doesn’t ever seem to be wrong with it. This helps us get an idea what type Max is. He gives one free ride a day and between rides, he plans. Plans for what? His future business of course. After twelve or so years of planning, it might even seem like he’s never going to go through with his ideas with a high class limo service but still, we see that he’s working out what he can in the time he’s afforded.
Anybody can be good with directions or be a great driver, good with people, and everything else Max does. But when you add these things up, along with what we already know of Max, it all points to ISFJ. When he’s asked how long it will take to get from one place to another, he gives very specific numbers (“Seventeen minutes”). ISFJs themselves are pretty good with details as well.
“Pretty good” being an understatement as ISFJs can remember the tiniest details for years after they’ve happened and they’re often things you’d never think anybody would care to know. But the ISFJ does. It’s not that they necessarily want to remember some of these things, they just happen.
Introverted Sensing (Si) helps to remember things in a way that affects the user. While Extroverted Sensors experience things as they are, Si users remember things as it impacts them. It’s why SJs often seem so hardheaded. With Si in their dominant and auxiliary functions, if the experience doesn’t leave a mark on them or it rubs them the wrong way, they either forget about it or associate it with the negative.
And when I said that Max is good with people, what I really meant is that he’s nice to people. Though introverts can get along with people and can enjoy others company (duh), ISFJs at times, seem as though their niceness is to ward off any feelings of awkwardness rather than the user really wanting to get along. With Fe (Extroverted Feeling) being auxiliary, ISFJs seem to use this function as a way of getting by rather than the ESFJ’s use of Fe (Dominant for them) as a way of life.
They’re generally likable as people but what they really want to do, more than talk to you, is retreat into their world that makes them comfortable. This could mean back to their family, their hobbies, whatever makes them the most comfortable. This is made clear when Max’s boss calls him over the radio to complain and it takes Vincent taking charge of the situation to put Max on top of things.
This scene sums up not only Max but the film in its entirety. Isolation is a powerful thing and while everybody needs their solitude, to be completely alone can only be done for so long and something has got to be done in your life for you to matter. ISFJs are everywhere but they can be tough to spot due to their quietness. As mentioned with Max’s boss, Vincent’s presence is what stirs Max into finally acting of his own accord after years of keeping his head down and hoping nobody notices.
(In the hospital, where Vincent and Max are meeting with Max’s mom)
Max: How many times do I have to ask you, please don’t do that?…Don’t talk about me like I’m not right here in the room.
MAX’S MOM (To Vincent): What’s he saying?
VINCENT: He says he’s standing right here, in the room.
This is sort of a funny scene where we find out Max has been lying to his mom about what he does for a living, but this interaction is sort of like Max’s life. Cornered, the butt of a joke and when he tries to stand up, he’s mocked for it.
In the club scene, where Vincent sends Max in for him to meet with a drug lord (played by Javier Bardem!) to get information Max lost. While Max is clearly out of his element in a world of killers, this is the moment where he adapts. His inferior Ne (Extroverted Intuition) which he would normally use to see where all the unpredictable possibilities could steer him wrong, is now used for him to play it by ear (like Jazz) and plays the situation off like he knows what he’s doing. He’s picked up enough about what Vincent does to figure out the rest.
And when he does, it sort of comes off like he’s losing his mind rather than becoming the man. Then again, maybe it does take losing your mind a little to gain control.
It’s this that shows us that just because Max begins to change up his routine does not mean that he went from ISFJ to ISTP, ESTP or some other more adaptable type. That would be like saying that for an ISFJ to do anything other than how they’re normally thought of would make them a different type. It doesn’t. Max just begins to realize over the course of a long night, he’d have to do something a little different than what he was used to since the world is full of chaos sometimes you’ve just got to adapt instead of hoping all the changes occur on their own and keep you comfortable.
Because you don’t wanna be that guy on the subway.