I think I left it too long to see this one. For so many years I’ve heard what a genre changing classic it is but maybe now I’ve seen too many films that have been influenced by Taxi Driver and now it feels familiar.
I enjoyed Taxi Driver but I wasn’t blown away by it. It doesn’t seem to have stood the test of time in the same way as Apocalypse Now (which I also took way too long to see but still loved it = blown away!).
It’s great to see De Niro in full form acting Travis Bickle is a fully developed character whose slightest twitches convey so much more than just the dialogue. De Niro inhabits the character and while it certainly becomes clear Trav has some serious mental health issues, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him and really just like him. I think this is all down to De Niro. Jodie Foster is also brilliant, it’s hard to believe she was so young when acting such a difficult character and just doing it with such maturity. I’ve known she’s amazing for quite some time but it’s still incredible to see her as Iris.
I love that New York is its own character in Taxi Driver. So dirty, so dank, so seedy. No wonder Trav goes off the deep end when all he sees is dark and dirty New York haunting his rear vision mirror with its filth, both literal and in the people of New York jumping in his taxi late at night to do the dirty deeds they can’t do during the day.How gross that he has to clean the ‘gunk’ (shall we say) off the back seat of the taxi at the end of his shift…. euwwww.
Taxi Driver is a surprisingly slow movie, the final scenes contain the only action and that is all over very quickly. I wondered while watching how much of these final scenes were in Travis’ head? Did he really shave his head or was everything he did with the shaved head a ‘dream/fantasy’? Because in the very final scenes of the movie he’s back at his job with a full head of hair and as if nothing has changed. How do you kill two people and then everything goes back to normal? He was saving Iris from a shitty life but he also murdered people in cold blood. Sure they were jerks but killing a jerk isn’t a defence to their murder (should it be?). A bloody happy ending (literal not swearing) is all it comes down to and it was a bit hollow for me.
I liked lots of things about Taxi Driver, it’s a good film and it’s great to revisit De Niro at his strongest (not the Dirty Grandpa De Niro thank you…) but overall I don’t really get what all the fuss is about. I should have seen it sooner.