Saturday, 13 November 2010

IMDB 250 Challenge: #41: Taxi Driver


Made: 1976
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Director: Martin Scorsese

My Thoughts

  • Generally, watching a film once is enough for me; particularly in a short space of time. Of course, there are movies I've habitually watched at Christmas and seen a dozen times, but I prefer to watch something new, given the choice. With Taxi Driver, though, as soon as I watched it, I felt I could easily have pressed play again and sat right through another play. It's a subtle movie in many ways. It moves slowly and affords itself plenty of silences. There's plenty to think about. There are some hugely impactual scenes, but it's more moving as a piece (ironically, considering it has one of the most quoted lines of any movie).

  • When watching, I kept thinking back to a biography I read years ago of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma Bomber. McVeigh had been a decorated soldier in the Gulf War #1. He struggled to readjust to society's trivialities afterwards and having been discarded by his government, soon became scornful and embittered towards all aspects of the federal state. We all know what happened to him. Travis (De Niro's character), having served in the Marine Corps, battles with what he perceives to be daily injustices. He bemoans the downward spiral of morality engulfing NYC and eventually, takes matters into his own hands. There are certainly parallels and I think Scorsese (and of course, writer Paul Schrader) have framed that frustration astutely. They can't have been short of research subjects in the fallout of the Vietnam War.

  • I was genuinely surprised by the ending. I won't spoil it, but I was certain it would conclude differently. For me, it made the movie. Up until that point I thought it was a good movie. The ending really seals it's status as a great one.

  • I wondered about the main character's insomnia. It's something I think about quite a bit, being a mild sufferer. Was he a bit tapped beforehand, or was it the lack of sleep that sent him over the age? It has a great track record for ruining people; but equally, some of the most revered creative minds have been sufferers (Proust, Van Gogh, Napoleon, Monroe, Edison, Dickens, B. Franklin).

1 comment:

Mark said...

I liked reading these thoughts on Taxi Driver, but I wouldn't worry about a touch of insomnia. Have you heard the story about Paul Schrader sleeping in a car while he was writing this movie. Perhaps that's where it comes from. Only start to worry if you start stalking politicans and paying hookers for conversation time.