Taxi Driver is a thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. The movie was a huge critical and financial success when it was released in 1976 by Columbia Pictures.
Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is a Vietnam veteran living in New York City in a decaying Manhattan neighborhood. As he drives through the city, he narrates his life and it becomes clear his mental stability is waning as he dreams of removing “scum.” While traveling the neighborhood, he frequently encounters a child prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) whom he tries to deter from her lifestyle. While taking a fare, he encounters Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign staffer for Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris). At first, they seem to hit it off, but after he takes her to a porn film, she rebuffs him. This causes him to become infuriated. Purchasing a gun, he begins to plan to assassinate the senator and is determined to make a mark on the city.
It is difficult to review a film that has had so many critics and analysts pick away at its themes, subtext, filmmaking, and directing. Honestly, I think most of these people overthink it. The plot is simply about a man who feels abandoned by society and he begins to act out in order to be seen by that society, culminating in its shocking ending.
There is no doubt that Scorsese is a genius. He brings Schrader’s script to life in perfect fashion, telling it like an opera as the stakes continue to rise. It is perfectly paced and riveting from beginning to end.
The acting is perfectly on cue. De Niro, Shepherd, Foster, and the rest of the cast portray their characters with immense talent and show us their talent with ease. De Niro himself is visceral and truly connects Bickle to you on a human level, but also watch his love for violence growing.
I think an unsung hero of this movie is Michael Chapman. A director in his own right, he was a frequent collaborator with Scorsese, having worked with him on Raging Bull and a few others. Chapman captures the moments of the plot with excellence and truly uses the camera to bring out the emotions, drive, and tension of the plot.
Bottom line, Taxi Driver is a classic in the truest form. Martin Scorsese is a brilliant director and the story of Travis Bickle is one that will echo through the history of cinema.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Strong foul language, Violence, Scenes of child exploitation, Sexual content including nudity
FAVORITE QUOTE: Now I see this clearly. My whole life is pointed in one direction. There never has been a choice for me.
Check out the trailer below:
That is my review. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. While you are at it, check out my reviews for X-Men and Superman Doomsday. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
This article has been updated from a previous version.