Taxi Driver: Film Review

Basics of Cinema Challenge: 2/43

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Title: Taxi Driver
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Genre: Drama
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel
Rating: R
Runtime: 113 min

With its character-driven plot, Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” takes the audience to the dirtiest, darkest, wildest part of New York city. As war-veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) drives through the city, he gets deeper and deeper into the hell-like city and finds himself becoming like the people he disgusts roaming around the streets.

de-niro-taxi-drivertaxi20driver-noneThe film opened with an image of a smoky, indistinct street accompanied by Bernard Hermann’s beautiful, soul-captivating score and just by that first few seconds of the film, it already gave out the vibe that this film will be a promising one.

Although there is no clear, distinct plot, Taxi Driver is still gripping and interesting thanks to the main character, Travis Bickle played by one of the greatest actors of his generation, Robert De Niro. The acting of De Niro in this film is phenomenal. The look, the smile, the mannerisms, he created a truly interesting and captivating character that kept the story going. As the film goes on, and as Travis falls deeper into the rabbit hole, De Niro transforms into this unpredictable character; and while staring at the screen and watching this man do his work, you wouldn’t think that that’s Robert De Niro putting on a performance. That, up there, is a man named Travis Bickle. The characterization is rich and the performance was topnotch. The acting and character department did not disappoint, as predicted.

The shootout near the end of the film is one of the most haunting scenes in cinema history. The violence, the screams, and the sound of the guns will not be able to get out of viewers’ heads that much soon. The cinematography and the way the camera moved also helped in establishing the horror that just happened in that particular building. The slow movement of the camera helps the viewers grasp what they just saw and just take in the surroundings where the horrendous event just took place. The cinematographer, Michael Chapman, also worked with Scorsese in Raging Bull, yet another of Scorsese’s masterpieces.

It is also worth mentioning that the score in this film is glorious. It’s not that grand nor distracting. It’s just there to give and boost the emotion and mood of the scene. Bernard Hermann (who also scored Citizen Kane, Vertigo, and Fahrenheit 451 among others) scored Taxi Driver and this is his last work before he died. Needless to say, his last works were truly amazing and Hermann left with a great legacy behind.

Director Martin Scorsese truly knows how to play the elements of the film into his own liking. The screenplay is amazing and it works well with the cinematography and production value of the film. The feel of New York city being full of “scums” were truly visualize in the film. Combine those two successful elements with a great score and that will surely make up for a great film that will be talked for multiple years.

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