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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Comments written in 2005 on Taxi Driver will doubtless take into
consideration things like De Niro winning an Oscar four years later
with "Raging Bull", Scorsese still haven't had any luck with Oscar (he
wasn't even nominated for Taxi Driver), Foster's rose to stardom, etc,
etc. And yet, as one critic puts it, even today, the only thing about
Taxi Driver that is out-of-date is the fashion.
My immediate association of Travis Bickle (the New York taxi driver immortalized by De Niro) is with Paul Kersey, played by Charles Bronson in "Death Wish" (1974). But then, these two are in fact very different types of vigilante. Kersey's action is driven by a personal tragedy and it's very clear in his mind what he is doing. Bickle, as one critic puts it, is "certifiably insane". But then, he is also clear about what he is doing, but in a different way.
I can't remember who said that the mind of a mad man is just like the mind of a child (maybe nobody said it). When Bickle, after winning a favorable reaction from his blond goddess Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), blunders by taking her to a porn movie, his apology is as sincere as a 10-year-old boy's who has accidentally broken a neighbor's window with a baseball. This one layer of Bickle's mind, this innocence, is always there, even when it is subordinated to his absolute detestation of the "scum" of New York that finally drives him to become a psychotic. So much have been said about the urban alienation, the inability to relate etc, etc, of this character. The deepest impression in my mind from De Niro's portrayal, however, is his childlike innocence.
It is an intense allegory of a lonely and disturbed taxi driver. He
drives around the city doing his job and hating it. This man does not
have a good life or anything close to a good motive. Whether it be from
his insomnia with the painful memories of the Vietnam war or just
wanting to get out of his version of hell, the streets of New York, is
irrelevant. One day, he meets a child prostitute and is so disturbed by
her situation that he decides to use her as an opportunity to act out
in violent and unusual ways.
When I watched picture I wondered if I was supposed to feel sorry for this man. I felt like I shouldn't have, but I did. He is so disturbed and so inhuman, but in his mind he is perfectly stable and strong. I love films that challenge me like this one did. Travis Bickle is not a good person. That's one of the things that is established almost right away. He is among one of the most insane and disturbed characters I've seen in a motion picture. However, unlike other films that would paint him in a negative and stereotypical light, Scorsese has the balls to force us into his mind and force us to see the world from his eyes. We recognize what state of mind he lives in and what he feels about this world he sees. It is very unpleasant, but it is a powerful and daring thing for Scorsese to do.
There are parts in this film that seem to say that hell is the only place that Travis could exist in, no matter what. He is incapable of existing outside of this realm of decadence and self-destruction. He searches for good things in his life and grabs hold of them so tightly that he forces them to become bad things in his life to suit his situation.
Eventually, the film comes to the conclusion that he should stop searching for good things to change his life, and start searching for bad things so that other people's lives can change. The film is hard to watch at some parts, not because of it's explicit violence, but because of the emotional pain that Travis goes through.
The hardest scene to watch is a part where Travis picks up a deranged passenger played by Martin Scorsese himself. A film like this is special when it can achieve those kind of emotions from a viewer. The emotional pain is a lot harder to watch than the extreme violence that occurs in this film.
That's not to say that the violence is easy to watch because it isn't at all. It is sickeningly abrasive and nightmarish, yet strangely enchanting. The blood looks very much like red paint, with a slightly light tone to it that makes it looks somewhat pretty when splattered on the wall.. It is all the more so in that the film forces us to view this and shoves our faces in it while trying it's best to spare us from the emotional pain.
This is one of Scorsese's finest and most complete films. It is a powerful and polarizing work of art. It is among one of the most emotional and suspenseful films I can say that I've seen and it's one that you'll definitely remember!
I just ended to see Taxi Driver, I just say that is one of the greatest
movies I have ever seen, is an excellent portraying of that filthy,
unsocially, vicious and decreased part of New York, with characters
that used to live there and that are creating mean business, that we
don't want to see, not only there, but also in my city, in fact, some
of the society is identical to the poor parts of Colombia, especially
when the black threw thinks to Travis and the taxi. Very psychological
and suspenseful, Taxi Driver is not only a film classic, is New York.
The second movie I saw form Scorsese (The first only was Gangs of New
York, also a classic for me), and the first when De Niro was starting
his long-living career, and Jodie Foster as well: Their performances
were accurate and also their situations and conflicts. For the other
hand Chinatown, directed by Roman Polanski, starring Jack Nicholson and
Faye Dunaway, is the representative of film noir, descendant of The
Maltese Falcon and Rebecca. Jake Gittes was that detective that is
unhappy with the world, anyway, somehow, I saw that the screenplay was
perfect: No mistake, creative and hard-boiling. Perhaps Robert Towne
could be a writer for a lot of prizes. When I saw Faye Dunaway, I
expected no less: She act like that femme fatale, but she doesn't begin
as that, but she evolves into becoming a femme fatale, thanks of that
father, daughter, sister and husband. The society of 1930s, portraying
in Chinatown, was very perfect: It contains tha social life, tha
customs and everything. ¡¡I expected less from that part, I deserved my
surprise!! Corrupt politicians, infidel wives, lovers, criminals and
anti-semitic. Perhaps many people, that already saw the movie, would
say "The romantic part was incomplete: It needed to be more influential
inside", or something like that, however I think different: The Film
Noir contains un-sentimental love and promiscuity, and the part of love
was that: It contained everything I read about the genre. Indeed
Chinatown is another classic masterpiece, directed by another living
legend: Roman Polanski Taxi Driver is film noir too. And is that
society the one that expresses each one of the elements of film noir,
and historical if we think about Vietnam War, speaking about Travis
Bickle. For the other hand, it doesn't need too much for understand his
mind: He hates his world, he feels he's better than anyone of them, and
he thinks he is some think of hero, trying to save society form itself:
He's totally insane. I recognize I'm not very specific with some
elements of these two movies, but I prefer to bring you a synopsis
about what you are about to find out rather than explain you the
details. And i'm not a professional film critic anyway.
But I can say one critic: Academy Award should, at least, nominate this movie for more than just four Academy Award. ¡Screw them, for that and for ignoring Scorsese, especially with Raging Bull and Goodfellas! Remember the words for Mark Caldwell: They involve the AFI, but I would replace them for "Oscars": Thank you Scorsese. De Niro don't worry yourself about the AFI, their just a bunch of pompous elitist f**k's
When you go to videostore, look for these two movies, watch them and ask yourself: ¿Which one can be the Absolute Film Noir of 1970s? ¿Taxi Driver or Chinatown?
It is obvious from the opening scene, that this isn't you usual run of
the mill film. A young Robert De Niro, driving around the streets of
New York, scoping the streets for scum, with his harsh voice over,
expressing his dismay and disgust at all the "rubbish polluting the
streets", and with the piercing and disturbingly memorable score from
Bernard Herrmann, make the opening few minutes of Taxi Driver
memorable, and sets the mood perfectly for the next 105 minutes.
Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a deeply disturbed insomniac who finds some solace becoming a taxi driver. His already unstable nature is swayed from psychotic to calm during the course of the film. After his newly appointed job as a taxi driver, he witnesses the many harsh realties that plague his city of New York. Working five, sometimes six times a week, and only at nights, he truly sees what a pathetic halt the world has come to. Drug dealers, prostitutes, and pimps line the streets. In an heroic act that can only be admired, he takes a young prostitute under his wing and attempts to get her out of the apparent rut she seems to be stuck in. With a lot of money, but not much to live for, Bickle decides to "clean" the street of New York himself. The results is a violent lash-out, which can only be described and brutal and vicious.
This unsettling film, from director Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull 1980, Mean Streets 1973), is truly able to connect with its audience, and leaves them with a sour taste, as it should. In a director/actor relationship that is envied by many in the industry, the Scorsese/De Niro team once again bring realism to the screen, which touches upon a sensitive nerve in us all, as well as being visually appealing and dramatically intense. De Niro, gives a stellar performance, perhaps his second best effort to date in the Scorsese/de Niro partnership (the first being Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull). His portrayal of and unhinged Vietnam war veteran is played to precision, as the audience feel as though they are moving with him through his extreme moods. We see the sensitive guy who has fallen in love, the naive boy who takes his new girlfriend to see a porn film, and then we see the obvious anger and hatred towards the world, and the violent actions that follow. Scorsese direction is to be admired. Although he has denied it in many interviews, Scorsese has the ability to connect with his audience. But not in a way that Spielberg or Lucas would. Scorsese is able to put forth a realistic view on the world in which we live. The film is bleak in the point it tries to portray, and its dark settings and meticulously placed lighting creates a world that would really exists. Much like Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange", this film presents to the viewer a shocking reality that many people would prefer not to know about. It is this element however, that is evident throughout many of Scorsese films, and the reason as to why his films have such a huge effect on many people.
A brillaint film.
*********SPOILERS******* Seeming out of nowhere a taxi rolls out of the
night mist and as it turns sideways on the screen facing the theater
audience the title of the movie appears in eerie neon, so starts Martin
Scorese's "Taxi Driver".
Travis Bickle, Robert De Niro, keeps a diary at home where he records his thoughts as well as his daily experience on and off the streets of New York as he drives a cab to support himself. "I'm God's lonely man" Travis constantly writes in his diary. Trying to fit into a vast an impersonal city like New York is too much for Travis. He feels more at home by himself with his thoughts and fantasies then socializing with people.
In the movie Travis has two relationships. One with a woman the other with a girl, both end up disastrous. The first with Besty, Sybill Shepherd, a campaign worker for presidential candidate Charles Palintine, Lenoard Harris, and the second with Iris, Jody Foster, a 12 year old prostitute who turns tricks for and is looked after by her pimp Sport, Harvey Keitel.
Travis spots Besty at the Palintine campaign offices in midtown Manhattan while he's driving his cab and falls in love with her. Travis going so far as to volunteer to work for the Palintine campaign so he can be with her. After a while Travis gets friendly and close enough with Besty to take her out to the movies on a date with him. It turns out that Travis' limited knowledge of the entertainment world, the only movies that Travis watches and knows about are porno flicks, leaves him hurt and humiliated when Besty, shocked that Travis would take her to an X-rated theater, walks out on him.
Some time later Travis back on his job driving a cab one night in the East Village encounters Iris trying to run away from her pimp Sport when she jumps into his cab. Sport gets into the cab with Iris and after sweet talking Iris to come back with him gives Travis a twenty dollar bill for all the trouble that Iris caused and tells Travis to forget all about it. Travis soon becomes fixated with rescuing Iris from her life on the streets and from working for Sport for whom Travis begins to develop a very strong and violent dislike of.
As the movie slowly moves to it's bloody and explosive conclusion it's obvious that Travis has gone over the deep end. Arming himself to the teeth and getting himself into shape, both physically and mentally, for the battle against all those evil forces that are lurking around him that is sure to come. His frustration together with his ignorance and alienation of the real world has turned Travis, who was friendly and likable if just a bit odd at the beginning of the movie, into a Frankenstein monster.
The movie "Taxi Driver" is filled with academy award caliber acting imaginary and gritty big city photography and a multi-layer story that's easy to follow due to a very skillful job of directing. The movie also has one of the most haunting and memorable musical score that I've ever herd in any movie and it more then deserves all the accolades that it received over all these years.
The only bad thing that I can say about "Taxi driver" is that director Martin Scorsese made the movie too soon in his career. It's been 27 years since Scorsese made the movie "Taxi Driver" and since then, with all the films that he directed, he's never come close to making any movie as good as it and for all we know he never will. Like Orson Wells in 1941 when he made "Citizen Kane" that over forty years until his death in 1985 Wells could never do anything on film to top that movie and the only place that Wells could go after he made "Citizen Kane" was down.
Revisited Taxi Driver last night after perhaps a decade away. It is still brilliant and fresh for those of us who recall the NYC it portrays. Read a lot of the reviews on the site and most people get it so there's no point repeating what has already been said. However, as it concerns the scoring of the picture, if you listen closely Bernard Herrmann has concluded the film with exact same chords as he did Psycho when he worked for Hitchcock (revealing perhaps his or the director's link to Norman Bates). Check it out! You don't have Psycho? Shame on you, go and get it then along with Taxi Driver you will have seen two of the most important American films of the last fifty years. p.s. If you like Taxi Driver you will almost assuredly like Paul Schraeder's MISHIMA...easily the greatest film no one has ever seen.
this film has it all....controversy, oscar winning acting from eery one
involved...especially de niro ,keitel and foster. De niro is my faviroute
actor of all time and this film is one of the reason why.
This film is about lonelyness and one mans struggle to do something with his life it also creates an image of hell on earth.
Every scene is excellent and scorcese is on top form again seeing travis slowly degenerate into insanity is fantastic it's hard to imagine anybody else in this role.
The climax of the film is incredible and does not dissapoint.
Any true film fan must see this film because everything about it is perfect
this film is always on a 100 greatest films ever somewhere in the 20s because it is a great film because travis is mad son of bitch he must be to blow of someone hand with his magnem 44 scorese is the my favitoe dirctor you talking to me scene was great i also loved the suck on this scene where travis shoots sport 10/10 masterpeice
When I first saw this I was blown away. This has got to be one of the greatest films ever made. Set in New York City, taxi driver Travis Bickle is obsessed with cleaning the streets of urban scum. At first he has no specific plan, until he meets a young prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster), and her trashy pimp (Harvey Keitel). At that point he gets completely organized and sets out to save this young girl. Some of the best acting I've ever seen. My favorite de niro movie, other favorites are Raging Bull and GoodFellas. A must see. 10/10.
Taxi Driver is incredible. Every time I watch it I become more and more engrossed with the story and the acting. One of the rare films that grows more enjoyable after every viewing. The film seems to have been done on a small budget but it's perfect for what the script suggests. Robert De Niro in one of his best roles ever earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, one that he should have won. Martin Scorsese did a fine job not only in directing, but also in selecting the perfect cast. Future stars Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel are just two of the many in the amazing supporting cast. Everything in this film is just right, watch it if you haven't already, or even if you have!
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