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Viewer’s Collection – Week 2 of Jake’s Picks: “Taxi Driver” (1976)

June 13, 2012

When I received Jake Kaufman’s pick list for Viewer’s Collection the first thing that lit up my eyes was the movie “Taxi Driver” on the list. A film many have time and time again watch, quote, and even satire at times. The movie has influenced some popular films for today’s generation; “Drive” & “SUPER” come to mind the most. But, with all that behind the film, I have a confession…I’ve only watched “Taxi Driver” once…seven years ago. Don’t hate on me, I feel bad enough as it is, but it’s a blessing in disguise to revisit this early Scorsese masterpiece. I think watching it seven years ago (16 years of age), I didn’t really appreciate the magnitude that was, and is, “Taxi Driver”.

Coming off “Mean Streets”, it became quite apparent at the time that De Niro was going to be Marty’s golden boy, much like today with Leo Dicap. De Niro brings everything to this role, the infamous anti-hero, the people’s anti-hero. He spoke his mind, he spoke the god’s honest truth, his perception of the world may be just at times, but his methods and foreseeable actions are questionable. Travis Bickle (De Niro) is a man who can’t sleep at night, so he gets a job as nighttime taxi driver. He’s fed up with New York City; the town has become a pool of scum, drugs, unclean sex, and crime everywhere. Somebody needs to take a stand, and at first Travis is all about speaking his mind about it.

Travis keeps a diary of his thoughts and feelings; he narrates them throughout the film, giving us that classic noir aspect. “Taxi Driver” is definitely a neo-noir, a dirty noir, but noir nonetheless. He falls for a beautiful woman named Betsy (Cybil Shepard), who’s a volunteer for a senator’s run for the presidency. You could argue that Travis’ rejection from Betsy later on triggers that ‘idea’ that begins to grow in the back of his mind, but I think the meeting he has in his cab with the senator is that launching point. The senator almost comes off superior to Travis, and though he says that he’s learned more about the American people form taxi cabs than limos, you can see in Travis’ face that what he’s saying is something he thinks Travis wants to hear.

This vendetta/obsession of Travis, really cuts deep in the viewer’s mind, I myself was taken back by the slow change in his personality, his attitude, and physical changes in his body movement, and expression. I think the scariest thing you could ever see in a movie is witnessing a character slowly being driven into madness, because they become a loose cannon hell-bent on unknown destruction. In the end, Travis come close, but not close enough achieving his ‘mission’. Instead he reverts that emotional drive to the actual example he was angry about from the very beginning.

I think the strongest element in “Taxi Driver” is the brilliant use of foreshadowing. I’m aware movies need that, but the way Paul Schrader’s script is drawn out, the topic of the social commentary of the 1970’s is inspiring. “Taxi Driver” is relevant for today’s world, because it brings up similar themes social/economic discussions. Now watching it a second time, I’m confident that this is a must in my top 10 favorite movies of all time; thank you Jake.

GRADE: A

NEXT WEEK’S REVIEW WILL BE ON ”A PROPHET”. RENT IT AND JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION NEXT WEEK!

SUBMIT YOUR PICKS FOR THE MONTH AUGUST IS COMING UP! THE FINAL DAY OF SUBMITIONS ARE ON JUNE 26TH, THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED THE FOLLOWING DAY! EMAIL ME YOUR 4 FILM PICKS AT AAPRODUCTIONS07@GMAIL.COM OR AARON@HUDAKONHOLLYWOOD.COM! GOOD LUCK!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kyle Lurz permalink
    June 15, 2012 7:48 pm

    Robert De Niro’s best role PERIOD.

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