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Posted on 6/06/11 09:13 AM
Martin Scorsese is perhaps my favorite director of all time. He has a certain style and passion to his work that is one of a kind. The gripping nature of much of his early work has a grit and rough feel to it yet demands my attention. What he does with Taxi Driver is summon a tidal wave build up to an explosive finale that makes it's mark in cinematic history. He and De Niro previously worked together in Mean Streets and teamed up here to create one of the most memorable characters of all time: Travis Bickle. I love the long hallway shots and the flexibility Scorsese give to the cast. It gives it such a real world environment and rich dialog.
Lonely Travis Bickle (De Niro) looks for a job to occupy his time. He is veteran and seems to be avoiding his past while attempting to create a future. He lands a job driving a cab and offers that he will drive anywhere at any time. We quickly see that De Niro is more that what he seems to be but we can't quite make out what. He meets a girl, suffers rejection, and becomes fiercely anti-social, especially to the scummy night life around him. He can't seem to find a purpose or a direction in life. However, when he finds one, he zeros in and the target is fixed. It is not so much of the direction he wants to drive home to it is the method, and it will be a destructive one for sure. He has armed himself with all the weapons he needs and the determination to see his plan through. All we have to do it sit back and watch what happens to the pimps and other criminals that he has fixated on.
Perhaps my favorite film of all time, Taxi Driver, illustrates the downward spiral of De Niro that is all captivating as he struggles though rejection and finds a target for his aggression. I love the build up to the mind shattering ending, it is as timeless as it is shocking. Keitel, Foster, and Shepherd support the chilling look into ultimate instability. The attention to detail that Scorsese has makes this a perfect picture. From the buying and training with the weapons to the imagery of the mirror scenes are all so meaningful. The direction, which allows the actors to explore and bring personal touches to their roles, is brilliant. I love the facial close-ups and reactions from the young stars. Scorsese passionately shot this picture and did not hold back in portraying his vision. There are clean and pure shots that are as astounding as the moments of brutality. It truly is a modern masterpiece and was my favorite picture for 1976. (A+)