Taxi Driver

Taxi_Driver_poster

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.

 

 

 

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Elysium

elysium

Action, sci-fi, future dystopia – is there anything I love that Elysium doesn’t have? Oh, a meaningful storyline or characters I care about? Yeh, that’s an issue.

Elysium had so much potential! I loved Neill Blomkamp’s first film District 9. It had action, sci-fi, future dystopia and it also had a meaningful storyline and characters. That film was so raw and unpolished and it worked.

Elysium was supposed to be unpolished (note the future dystopia). The Earth has been abandoned by the rich elite and the poor non-elite have been left to fend for themselves. We meet good ole Matt Damon struggling to survive and desperate to reach Elysium the floating retreat of the rich and lustrous and clean and neat and greenery loving people who used to live on Earth. They have health care you know – got an illness? Elysium can zap that. And that’s it. I just couldn’t care about it. Matt Damon was under utilised – we all know the guy can do action. Jodie Foster could have been awesome but her character just evilled about (you know walking evil, talking evil, being a bit over the top about it = evilling about).

The whole outcome of the film was telegraphed like a punch in WWE. You can see everything coming like you’re being told. Was the best friend actually wearing a red shirt a la Star Trek? – because he may as well have.

I would like to think of something positive about Elysium but I can’t think of much. I did read somewhere that Jodie Foster’s character was originally meant to be a male character so it was refreshing to have an evil woman as the person you would hate if you felt anything at all about this film.

Elysium is all about the blokes though, apparently in evil future dystopias women are either mothers or bad and can’t take care of themselves – they need Matt Damon or some South African guy to do their stuff. Come on Hollywood – get over it!!

Hey, need some feels? What about a little girl with terminal cancer who won’t live unless she gets to Elysium? Yeh, feel that audience. Except you don’t. I was so over it by the point that she was introduced that it was more an “of course” than an “oh no”. Another female for Matt Damon to save. Boring.

At least Elysium passes the Bechdel Test because the Mother and Daughter talk to each other about something other than Matt Damon. I can’t remember what they talked about because I didn’t care. (Yeh, take that Elysium…)

What a pity that Elysium was so drab. It’s a really interesting idea and there is so much current political tension around health care at the moment (I’m looking at you USA) that Elysium could have really made a statement that would make us think. But no, that didn’t happen, not at all.

Unfortunately potential and otherwise good actors doesn’t count for much when the story is so tedious and predictable.

Sad face. No. Bored face. Yes, that.