|“||If somebody had a gun to your head and said: "You gotta tell me what's going on with this person over here or I'm gonna kill you. What is driving him? What was he thinking?" You know, you couldn't do it, could you, because... They'd have to kill your ass because you don't know what anyone else is thinking. I think you're low, my brother. Way low. Like, what were you? One of those institutionalised raised guys? Anyone home? The standard parts that are supposed to be there in people, in you... aren't. ... And why haven't you killed me yet?||„|
|~ Max to Vincent, calling him out for his nihilism and lack of empathy|
Max Durocher is the main protagonist of the 2004 neo-noir suspense thriller film Collateral.
He is a taxi driver who, after dropping off a lawyer named Annie Farrell, picks up a man named Vincent, who is revealed to be a hitman contracted to assassinate four witnesses and a prosecutor. He then orders Max to drive him to everyone of his targets.
Despite being a taxi driver, Max is very intelligent - being able to figure out a lot about people from small details, not unlike Sherlock Holmes. An example of this is when he figures out that Annie is a lawyer due to her dark pinstripe suit, her briefcase and her purse. He implies that he's able to figure out things like this for most of his customers. Nevertheless, Max is still only human, and so his judgement of others isn't always accurate e.g. he doesn't realise that Vincent is a criminal (and a hitman, for that matter) until after he kills his first target, though this is largely because he can't comprehend why someone would kill a person they've never even met before, let alone someone who had never done anything to them.
Max is a very kind and empathetic person who's quick to sympathise with people he's just met. A good example early on is when he gives Annie a treasured photo of a holiday resort that he often looks at for stress relief, as he can tell that she's stressed out because of her job and needs it more than he does. He's also civil with Vincent more often than not even after learning that he's an assassin, to the point that Vincent eventually opens up to him about his troubled past.
However, Max is also rather lazy; he talks frequently about how his work as a taxi driver is only temporary, and one day he will open his own limousine business. Despite this, at the start of the film, he has never even taken the basic steps towards that goal, such as saving money. Vincent calls him out for this, saying that if he keeps going on the way he's been going, he'll wake up old one day and what he wants will have never happened, because he was never going to do it anyway.