It may never be possible to say enough about the film, Taxi Driver (1976). While Mean Streets put him on the map, Taxi Driver is Martin Scorsese’s true breakthrough film. I mean come on, it’s Taxi Driver! It does not even feel right reviewing this, troubled the film will not be granted the honor it deserves! Anyway, we will pull through…Scorsese tells a story of the disturbed Travis Bickle, played by no other than Robert De Niro. Travis is a lonely, depressed, Marine veteran who suffers from insomnia, among many other things. Travis takes a night job as a New York City taxicab driver to cope with his mental stability. Only after a few shifts, Travis begins to observe the dark, dirty, disrupted nightlife of New York. Eventually, Travis feels he must put a change in the world, ultimately leading to an obsession with crime, murder, and guns… The ultimate Scorsese smoothie! Furthermore, the combination of the direction, music, colors, and acting performances all align perfectly making a true masterpiece.
Not to mention, the cameo done by Scorsese is better than any director-cameo in any other movie. When a director puts themselves in their own films, it is to be noticed that the role of their character plays somewhat of an important, if not, intriguing aspect to a story…not just a fun Easter egg for a film’s audience. The characters that directors tend to play have attributes that direct or push a story forward. Although Scorsese’s role is small, his part makes Travis think a certain way, gearing up his attitude for the rest of the film.
Scorsese sits in the back of the taxi and tells De Niro’s character to look up at an apartment window. He then physically directs De Niro and even the camera operator. Stating and directing where to look, he even corrects De Niro with, “are you blind? Do you see the light? The woman in the window?” Scorsese’s character then goes on and tells Travis that he is going to kill his wife… notifying Travis that he is not the only crazy one out in this world. After this scene, Travis soon craves the taste of murder and later purchases multiple weapons.
All aspects of this film are to be thoroughly analyzed. The way the camera is used, and at moments even slowed down to a larger FPS, corresponding with composer, Bernard Herrmann, and his jazzy score. All things that make you feel the film’s dream-state and Travis’ vision of the world…creating something truly unbeatable. Even the grittiness of the actual film print adds another layer to the madness!
Without being too absurd…Scorsese takes a newfound expression and Hollywood’s new wave of cinema by the balls! And crushes it! Anyone who knows anything about film, knows that Taxi Driver is a highly respected, great film. It’s remarkable! Astronomical! Can I find another word? If you are now entering film school, or at all interested in film, please take notes on how Scorsese puts you in the mind and psyche of Travis Bickle.
Story/Plot – 18/20 Direction – 20/20 Acting - 19/20
Cinematography – 20/20 Score/Soundtrack – 18/20
The Founder of @HennionProductions,