Taxi Driver (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Let’s get this out of the way: the Blu-ray of Taxi Driver is every bit as awesome as the review sites are saying it is. But only true film fans are gonna be impressed. This is a very visceral and gritty movie, both visually and aurally. A lot of it ain’t that pretty, and was never meant to be. Lots of out of focus shots, low-light scenes, hyper-saturation, desaturation– this isn’t gonna be the disc you pop in to show off your entertainment system, let’s put it that way. If that’s what you’re looking for, pick up Planet Earth. But if you’re interested in watching a brilliant film as close to how it would look day one in 1976 at a theater with a great projector– this is the disc for you. And at $12.99, it’s a steal.
Now, the movie review:
Like Raging Bull, we’re dealing with a neutered man here. Sure he enjoys XXX theaters, but Travis Bickle is a ken doll. We are given no reason to believe he masturbates or even gets erections. Porn just helps him feel less lonely. He’s a man who wants only to be wanted.
He tries finding a girlfriend, but that doesn’t pan out. Basically, because she’s kind of a bitch. I personally found it quite charming and funny that Travis decided to take Betsy on a date to a porno. Her reaction was a little harsh; she should’ve laughed it off. I’m not saying her assessment of Travis as a psycho and subsequent cutting-off of him was unjust (obviously the dude is unstable) but if the porn theater mishap had occurred in an rom-com, people would’ve thought it was cute and silly. We must not confuse the situation with the man (or art with the artist, as the saying goes.) This, I believe, is the theme of the film.
Travis’ final crusade isn’t far off from what we’d be cheering in an action flick. The only difference is, we know Travis is insane. But we can’t let that cloud the fact that he ultimately did something noble, something few in this world would ever have the balls to do. In that sense, he’s a superhero. This may be a controversial standpoint, but if Iris were your daughter, you’d feel the same.
Do I believe Travis is a ‘changed’ man in the epilogue? Sorta. He’s still crazy as ever, but he has developed a moral code. Now, some may agree with him that ‘evil’ people deserve to be killed, some may not. (That’s a moral grey area I’m not gonna step into with my two cents.) But it’s a code nonetheless. And he has a reason to be proud– he’s found someone who believes in him: his city.
4.5 out of 5 stars.