5.) The Use of Voice-Over
So many films use voice-over without any other purpose other than to make their picture more accessible and warm for audience members. Taxi Driver is one of few movies however that actually turns the cliched device into an art-form. Travis buys a diary and of course by all accounts a diary is something private. Thus when he reads out what he is thinking he is not talking to the audience but rather validating his own thoughts and principles. We become suffocated with this often resentful train of thought and are forced to identify with Travis's cold outlook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGER0a3YAlk Travis's voice is also however an outlet for expressing some of our own restrained feelings. I'm sure we all have angry thoughts occasionally rising to the surface of our minds and Travis says some of that stuff for us in this film.
6.) Martin Scorsese's Cameo
Scorsese proved his acting chops in his brief role as a creepy passenger who shows Travis the house where his wife is having an affair and proceeds to tell him that he is going to kill them both. Scorsese is convincing in this quietly psychopathic performance and the scene itself does a good job of foreshadowing Travis's own violent streak. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk5N5y40Ll0
7.) Representation of a Psychopath
A common trait among psychopaths is that a large number of them think that they are doing something to benefit society. Jack the Ripper of course famously sent letters to the police in which he insisted that he was cleansing the environment by killing off prostitutes that walked the streets of London. Travis himself uses the excuse of killing foul people to justify his violent actions. He thinks that he is doing something of value but really he is just a desperately unhinged individual looking for any excuse to kill.
8.) Patience as a Virtue
Taxi Driver is a film that is not afraid to go at its own steady pace and develop some meaningful character moments. Certain lingering sequences such as Travis watching some aspirin dissolve into a glass of water show both the monotony of his life and how much of his time is spent daydreaming in a complete fantasy land. He is man who lives inside his own head and the film admirably takes the time to highlight this.
9.) Robert De Niro's Preparation
For a month the actor worked twelve hour shifts driving a cab. At one point he was recognised by someone who thought he must have been out of work in spite of having recently won the Best Supporting Actor Award at the Oscars. De Niro, as would become expected of the man, stayed in character at all times ignoring most of the other members of the cast and crew in a bid to try and tap into the overwhelming loneliness and angst that his character feels. One man he did make sure to connect with though was Scorsese. The pair had the knack of speaking the same language when it came to the art of creation and they would converse for hours even over the most minute of details. Jodie Foster talks fondly about working with Robert De Niro and how he would make them both repeat the same lines over and over again until the words were ingrained in their minds. Then suddenly he would improvise on the spot and they would repeatedly practice the alterations. The process was exhausting but helped make their scenes together so tight and naturalistic.