(Laurent Kelly's article from February re-posted as the 35th anniversary restored print of Taxi Driver is playing in U.K. cinema's now) Ok so you surely know the drill by now? An OWF writer is challenged to come up with 50 or so reasons for why a film of their choice should be dubbed the greatest of all time, you love them, are informed, educated and entertained by all of them and then you tell us what we forgot, where we went wrong and how much you enjoyed the article You've read all the ones to date, and now it's my turn to bring you 50 Reasons Why Taxi Driver Might Just Be The Greatest Film Of All Time!
1.) Opening Credits SequenceIn the very first shot a taxi appears from out of the street smoke and then fades again almost as if we just imagined its appearance. Names appear across the smoke filled screen. A pair of fatigued eyes that were born for cinema cautiously dart back and forth with an anxious expression. We then assume the position of the taxi driver driving through a bleak and uncompromising rain. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWTv8toR3Ug We are immediately drawn into this dark, surreal world where the line between fantasy and reality will become increasingly blurred as we delve deeper into the mind of a severely disturbed individual. A feeling of loneliness already emanates from the screen, of a man feeling trapped, isolated, insecure. We are desperate to know more about him. Helping to absorb us into this world is the evocative and mesmerising Bernard Herrmann score.
2.) Bernard Hermann's ScoreThere are two deeply profound pieces of music linked together in Taxi Driver. One is a dreamy, romantic jazz fuelled number which carries connotations of warmth and satisfaction. The other part of this score is a threatening and strikingly operatic piece of music with a deep undercurrent of angst and sadness that mirrors the growing rage waiting to be released inside Travis. Overall the contrast of the piece brilliantly shows the schizophrenic nature of Travis's personality who is capable of being both charming, sweet and also utterly ruthless and violent. Just listening to the score tells a sort of story in itself and is just as important to the film's success as Paul Schrader's script, Scorsese's direction and De Niro's central performance. It proved to be Hermann's last film, and what a way for one of the greats to go out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bx4aK-YsPeU
3.) A Brilliant War Movie!At its core Taxi Driver is about the after-effects a man is suffering having fought in the Vietnam war. We learn in the opening scene that Travis enlisted in the Marines and he will no doubt have become desensitised to all the senseless violence that the event entailed. Now he has returned to what is supposed to be civilisation, he has become more paranoid than ever, unable to socially interact and wanting to work by himself for long hours to escape both other people and himself. He is no longer able to trust or confide in those around him and feels alienated from what he sees as the sleaze filled streets of America. Yet the real problem is that Travis wants to desperately be involved with what America has taken away from him, the innocence that he probably once claimed. Travis secretly wants to be like everyone else, to once again feel human and as such his aim to clean up the streets becomes a misdirected bid to ingregate himself with society and to feel like he has some worth after a war which helped to take away the worth of himself and so many other young, unfortunate men.
4.) Funny Moment # 1No matter how bleak or hard hitting most Scorsese films have one or two moments that are truly hilarious. I think the funniest scene in Taxi Driver is when Peter Boyle's cabbie has spent a good minute and a half philosophising about his job and life in general and then Travis just responds with:
"I think that's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard." SUCK ON THIS!Officially the coolest line anyone has ever delivered before mowing down a lousy pimp.