Review No. 462
“Driven” to get you inside his mind.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Paul Schrader
Travis Bickle: Robert De Niro
Iris “Easy” Steensma: Jodie Foster
Tom: Albert Brooks
Matthew “Sport” Higgins: Harvey Keitel
Senator Charles Palantine: Leonard Harris
“Wizard”: Peter Boyle
Betsy: Cybill Shepherd
Also Starring: Diahnne Abbott, Harry Northup, Joe Spinell, Martin Scorsese, Steven Prince, Victor Argo
Distributed by Columbia Pictures on February 8, 1976. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 113 mins. Rated R by the MPAA–graphic violence, profanity, sexual situations.
Taxi Driver was watched on April 6, 2013.
“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin’ to? You talkin’ to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the f–k do you think you’re talking to?” –Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro)
Taxi Driver scopes in on a streetwise insomniac who grows insane, acts out his vigilante fantasies, and loses touch with everything he used to be. You’d imagine that a movie like this would disturb, and to think that this gets us so well in its character’s mind, it’s quite a shock that the movie is an incredibly poignant one. We see everything through the eyes of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), as he drives around in a taxi cab, deals with the city’s night timers (whom he thinks are the scum of the earth), endures multiple stabs in the back from the woman he loves, and ultimately, attempts to save the life of Iris (Jodie Foster), a prostitute who has not even turned thirteen.
I loved this character development in Taxi Driver. The film was written by Paul Schrader, who summed it up with one of Hollywood’s most ingenious, yet heartbreaking endings. What is just as heartbreaking is that the movie is overrated. Yes, it is very good, but very over appreciated. As far as collaborations between actor Robert De Niro and director Martin Scorsese, Taxi Driver is my least favorite. I don’t know if De Niro was trying to act sleep deprived or if he was just not fit for the character, but if it were the former, he didn’t go far enough.
But realize that when I say this is my least favorite, it’s almost a compliment. The film is Scorsese’s; so much about it simply can’t not impress. Although Bernard Herrmann does prove to have composed many more brooding musical scores, he continues the director’s NYC jazz style effectively. I do much prefer Scorsese’s writing, simply because he’s greatest as a simultaneous writer-director; we don’t get that here, but Schrader’s screenplay is rather effective. The key word is “effective.”