Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Taxi Driver

So after years of hearing praises about Taxidriver. I finally got to see it.

Martin Scorcese’s classic that catapulted Robert de Niro to fame. A movie that is relevant even today. Travis Bickle[De Niro] is a taxi driver. He drives the taxi in the streets of New York. He is a lonely man who suffers from insomnia. He drives the cab all through the night but he can’t sleep. He visits 24 hour porn theatres but he still can’t sleep. He is disgusted with the city and its people.

He is attracted to Betsy who works in the campaign office of a Presidential candidate-Senator Pallantine. He asks her out on a date. He takes her to a movie-confoundedly to a porn movie. I still don’t get it. Why would a man on his first date take the girl to a porn movie? Is Bickle naive/sex-maniac/crazy? As the movie progresses we realize his frustrations coupled by his service in Vietnam. The movie moves aimlessly till we get to see Iris a twelve-year old prostitute[Jodie Foster].

Travis becomes emotionally attached to the girl and all his suppressed anger erupts when he finds out how Sport uses the naive girl Iris as a prostitute by making her a cocaine-addict. Travis buys a lot of guns and a knife and decides to become the vigilante-one man army and decides to clean New York of its filth and scum.

He shaves his head[mohawk style] and decides to start by assassinating the Presidential candidate. His uneasiness is spotted by the Secret Service agents-and Travis flees the scene. The climax is bloody and violent as Travis goes on a shooting/killing spree and shoots Sport and other runners of the prostitution racket. He is also injured in the shooting spree.

The next scene shows the wall of Bickle’s room full of newspaper clippings proclaiming him to be the hero. We also listen to the contents of a letter from Iris’s father to Bickle. He thanks Bickle for his heroism.

The movie ends with Bickle dropping Betsy home and refusing to accept the fare. The movie is an intense study of the psyche of the American male. Times of war and unstable economic conditions, drug-use the tough seventies, black-white conflict, prostitution-many facets of American life that have been touched upon in the movie. We sympathise with Bickle and secretly wish that he finds true love in Betsy. But in our minds we know that Bickle is a drifter and he can never find calm and inner peace or true love.

Robert de Niro and Jodie Foster shine in this movie. The back ground music is haunting and cinematography simple and effective.

Iconic lines-”You talking to me….” “Flush it out.”[To clean New York]

A powerful movie that leaves a bitter taste in our mouths and a long-lasting impression on our minds.

The biggest upset was when Rocky won the Oscar for best movie in 1977.

Cross-posted at www.mramani.wordpress.com

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