TBR: Taxi Driver

August 24, 2017


The all time classic 'Taxi Driver' is much more than just an action flick. It is an absolute masterpiece in every sense. The ideas and feelings that are provoked from the movie are masterfully woven by the legendary director, Martin Scorsese. He made the audience step back and consider Bickle's ideologies. 

In the beginning of the film, we discover how lonely the main character feels. He is tortured by his isolation, but only confronts it by pushing people away. Driving the taxi seems to be a subconscious way of begging for help. Being a cab driver is not only driving from point 'A' to point 'B', but it is also socializing with clients. It is his opportunity to feel less isolated. Throughout the film we find a sense of existentialism in DeNiro's character. He is strongly opinionated about the people around him. We see this especially in the taxi when he is driving Palantine. The politician asks him about his views and it gives him the chance to speak about his pessimistic ideas. He spoke about wanting somebody to clean up the streets. Palantine reacted as a politician would, and stated that it would be tough but he would try. 

Travis Bickle seemed  to be a ticking time bomb from the start of the movie. He appeared more and more unstable as the film progressed, especially after being rejected by Betsy. The way he handles their interactions displayed his shy and antisocial nature. He later called her asking for forgiveness in an incredible scene. The camera panned away from Bickle and focused on the empty hallway that led back out into the cruel world. It so greatly symbolized the character's outlook on the world as he becomes more unstable. 

The character continues to transform and eventually thinks he needs to take matters into his own hands. Up until this point, Travis was a character that the audience found relatable. It was this shift in the story that caused the character to betray us. He went to an extreme that we could not see ourselves in. He found a need to help Iris, a young prostitute played by Jodie Foster. With the weapons he had purchased not long ago, he went on an attack to rescue the girl. The close action showed what the ex-marine was willing to do. The moment in which Bickle looks at the police officer, motioning as if to take his own life, displayed the pain of this character. 

The next scene showed the audience how he had unintentionally become a hero to those around him. The final scene of the film is somewhat controversial. Many theorize that it is just a dream but I disagree. I believe that the scene was placed there to show that Bickle may be getting over Betsy, but he is certainly still unstable and just ticking away until he inevitably breaks again.

'Taxi Driver' is easily one of the best films ever made and should be watched by every movie fan. Not only is it entertaining, but it is also a powerful character study of Robert DeNiro's Travis Bickle. One of Martin Scorsese's best films, 'Taxi Driver' is incredible.

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