Academy Award® Nominee
Robert De Niro as a socially responsible psycho in this Martin Scorsese film. View more >
Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel... View more >
Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.
Up until "Goodfellas", the third best film I have ever seen, Scorcese's "Taxi Driver" was his best film, an odyssey of spiritual deterioration in New York that is like nothing I have ever seen before. Just the idea of Scorcese's vision--show a man who mentally breaks down due to the onslaught of New York--is unforgettable and heartbreaking.
The film's most honest and timeless scene, about halfway through the film, shows Robert DeNiro, as Travis Bickle, looking into a mirror: "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here." Travis Bickle is an ex Vietnam veteran who moves to New York and becomes a cabbie. He is a lonely and confused man, which is so clearly shown in scenes where he drives his cab (there are such powerful moments when we watch the fare meter tick) and his visits to porn houses.
Travis tries to meet people, such as Iris (Jodie Foster), a 12 year old prostitute who ran away from home and doesn't want to go back, Betsy (Cybill Shephard, long before her annoying stage) as a election commitee for senator Palantine, Sport (Harvey Keitel) as Iris' pimp, and Palantine, who gets into Travis' cab one night and they have a brief yet powerful exchange of words.
We always stay within Travis' point of view in the movie, and that is the reason we see the movie so shattering and emotionally wrecking. "Taxi Driver" is basically a one character film, with all of these minor supporting characters who he goes to. No one comes to him. He has to approach any of these people, or they all of a sudden pop up and are surprised to see him.
Everyone seems to hate Travis, since he seems almost obsessed with saving Iris and sending her back home, seeing Betsy, even Sport the pimp. The only person who seems to like him (and then instantly forgets him) is Palantine. ("You know, I have learned more from Taxi Drivers than anyone else," Palantine says, possibly just to get Travis to solicit votes).
Travis begins to slowly go mad, by burning his hand with a gas flame, buying guns, even shaving his head to look like a Nazi. The world of New York is destroying him, but he must save Iris the hooker, even though she may not want to be saved.
I would defy anyone who thinks of these scenes as violent, they are a shattering look into Travis' mind, and we are so kept up in his mind that we don't really care that the movie has blood in it at all.
I would be wrong to say that this movie is one of the most realistic pieces of filmmaking ever. It isn't. "Saving Private Ryan" and "The French Connection" are realistic. "Taxi Driver" has passages in the film that seem dreamy or not even real, such as the sequence where a cab fare (Scorcese in an uncredited cameo) wants to watch a woman in a window, or even the aftermath of the shootout, where newspaper clippings are shown and Betsy pops up in a cab out of nowhere. Yetwe still connect with these scenes, because we care so much about Travis' downward spiral.
I have used, in this review, the following adjectives to describe the film: heartbreaking, shattering, unforgettable, honest, timeless, powerful, emotionally wrecking, dreamy. All of these elemnts are so true about "Taxi Driver" that themovie changed filmmaking. I dare anyone to look at this film and not see it this way...I'm talking to you, Leonard Maltin.
I will never want to live in New York.
Picture: 3 The film has a nice film look to it, I liked the use of color and blackness to show New York. Of course, it has none of the eye popping color as today's films do.
Sound: 2.5 The sound is mono, and there is a rerelease of the film in Dolby, yet the only surround effects will be Benard Hermann's fabulous music score, and even then I bet the score will spread through the front channels. I have the mono video, and the sound is clean and easy to hear.
Photography: 4 The film is one of those great 1.85:1 frames. Shot in wide, the film is so well shot, and it looks great.
Length: 114 minutes. Rated R for violence and language. firstname.lastname@example.org icq-4339199
Next to THE GODFATHER, this is the most overrated movie that I've ever seen. Martin Scorcese gets so wrapped up in his own offbeat and (in his own egotistical mind, anyway) groundbreaking direction that he forgets that he has to hold the audience's attention. Here's a tip Martin, if you want to keep the audience interested, don't make them feel uncomfortable by using this irritatingly choppy photography. This movie goes into the 'Man Slowly Going Insane' genre, but it doesn't top the list. DeNiro does a good job as a down and out cab driver, but I liked him much better in the ultimate DeNiro/Scorcese collaberation, GOODFELLAS.
**1/2 out of *****
"Taxi Driver" is a powerful movie about the gritty streets of New York City as seen though the eyes of one of their own. Robert De Niro plays the title role as he journey the streets of New York in his taxi. When he's not doing that's he hangs out at the pono theatre. He befriended a campaign worker played by Cybill Shepherd and a postitiute played by Jodie Foster.
This movie directed by Martin Scorsese is a character study of a man who knows the streets all too well. That memberable scene when DeNiro looked into his mirrow and said, "Are You Talking To Me!" "Taxi Driver" is one of the best film to come out of the 1970's. Brilliant film.
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