An Unforgettable Film About a Taxi Driver
“Taxi Driver” is a film by Martin Scorsese about an antisocial guy, his comprehension of society and his struggle. The legendary Robert De Nero plays a war hardened veteran from Vietnam. Young and in New York, Travis becomes a taxi driver. messing up a date with Betsey (Cybill Shepard) while trying to take her to a x-rated movie. struggling to manage with the treatment of being a lowly taxi driver and a troubling experience with a man whose wife ran off; Travis begins to lose it and begins to arm himself with the intent to fix the city of all its “scum”. He begins to gain interest in a 12-year-old prostitute and tries to help her.
This movie is fantastic, Martin Scorsese has captured the misery Travis must feel in his day-to-day life; Scorsese enjoys his long shots, following a character along corridors and streets, these shots are visually interesting, following the personal emotion and life of the character which is ultimately what the film is, the personal story of Travis and his descent. Throughout the film there is a repeated use of a saxophone, the use is really effective and adds the feel of city life. The music for the film was created by Bernard Herrmann, he grasps the mood of the city, the stress and anxiety felt by Travis making the film have dark yet interesting tone. The film has a repeated saxophone riff, this is common in film soundtracks, however I heard this one more often than normal. You may think this negative however this was used very well and helped indent the repetitive trapped feel of urban life and of Travis.
The character of Travis is intriguing. The first scene of him is him asking for a job as a taxi driver – where you learn that he’s tired and can’t sleep, spends most of his nights on buses and trains going nowhere, will work any time anywhere even in the dangerous areas of New York, he has a poor education, and that he was in the marines with “honourable discharge”. In this scene – Travis stands at a distance from the dispatcher (the man he’s asking for a job from) as well as looking down at him, this is Travis’s insight of humanity for the rest of the film – arguably till the end (which I won’t spoil). This one scene shows us Travis and the person he is; a guy who can’t sleep, wants to fill his time, with a questionable look at the lower end of society. His interactions with the Betsey are some of the shocking ones.
Travis meeting Betsey is a corner stone of the film. Travis sees her on the street and describes her as an “angel” out the “filthy mass” of the city – after this he proceeds to stalk her, sitting outside watching her outside her work until walking to her job in quite an unflattering suit asking for them to meet up for coffee. At this meeting does the viewer realise how anti social he is – during this meeting he persistently tells her how much he doesn’t like her co-worker, they agree to a second date where he takes her to a porn movie which, of course, she leaves.
“You lookin’ at me?”, one of the best and most famous lines from this film. The shot is up facing and looking at Travis, Robert De Nero kills the line portraying the man who is trying to prove his masculinity to nobody.
The scene is brilliant, and captures the loneliness of a Travis. When he’s saying “who you talking to? I’m the only one here”, its sad as he is the only one there. His unnecessary attempts to prove his masculinity results in him giving himself an unflattering mo-hawk and looking ridiculous stacking onto his anti-social behaviour.
My only complaint about this film is there is this other plot where he tries to kill a senator that’s running for president; it’s never 100% clear why, apart from Betsey was part of his campaign, and when the senator was in his taxi, he (Travis) was a bit creepy. This plot doesn’t seem to go anywhere real apart from to make Travis seem even more crazy than he is. I’d rather it have a bigger effect on the plot and the wider events of the story then just a plot device for another look at who Travis is, either way it leaved open-mouthed at his behaviour.
END OF SPOILERS
This film is great. Robert De Nero was perfect for the role and killed it. Everything in this movie was done well and shouldn’t have done any other way. I really suggest this movie to everyone. I rate it
Thanks for reading, it means a lot. If you see any spelling, grammar or literary mistakes, please tell me. I’m dyslexic and would appreciate this so I may improve.
by Frederic Hall
Facts taken from imdb