Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Taxi Driver

Took me long enough.

Yes I finally saw Taxi Driver, and damn that was a friggin' good movie. It was everything I expected and yet gave me even more. So our story follows a man named Travis who gets a job as a cab driver, and we slowly work our way through his mind and persona as a less than mentally sound person, as he tries to find some meaning in his life among the grimy streets of New York. I totally see the many aspects of this film in Joker now, but did it damage either film for me? Actually no, they are two different stories just with similar elements between them, it honestly reminds me a lot of Star Wars and The Force Awakens. Indeed there are many similarities in structure and moments, but there's enough new material to truly merit a original film. But it certainly didn't make me hate Joker or see this movie as something I've seen before, it still pulled me into the seedy streets of New York City with a man who has no purpose or real end goal and yet attempts to do something with his life. Robert DeNiro was ridiculously good, and this was right whenever he got very famous after appearing in The Godfather Part 2, but just the way he carries himself, his speech tendencies, and general outlook on life really hooked me and I wanted to see what was going to happen next. A lot of attention was drawn to a then 12 year old Jodie Foster as an appropriately aged 12 year old prostitute named Iris, and she is absolutely great with a surprisingly nice and somewhat even charming relationship with Travis. I can't even put it into words properly, they just really struck me as two people who would get along and even be friends. That is so damn bizarre, but it's true! Their screen chemistry is great together, but Travis has eyes for only one lady named Betsy played by Cybill Shepherd who is a campaign aid for an upcoming presidential candidate Senator Palpatine, I mean Palantine. I just kept calling him that through the whole movie, I'm a nerd, what do you want from my life? They hit it off for a bit, but it was simply not to be but it's a great look into Travis' mindset and mannerisms. The ending really blew me away, mainly just because I had zero idea as to how this would end. Is he going to assassinate a promising future President? Is he going to help out Iris and make her life better? You really have no idea until right before the credits roll and even then you can kinda judge for yourself. I absolutely loved that, because I do not see Travis as a delinquet killer, he saves a man's life, attempts to help a young girl get out of a bad spot and really genuinely says what she needs to hear, yeah he's a bit awkward and blunt, but certainly not evil. It's such an interesting film that made me know exactly what I was in for by the time the opening credits rolled. It's a stylized intro that brings us into this world that's all too familiar and was just part of the urban landscape at that time and place in the world. There's a lot more color and everyday visuals than you would expect, it's not all filthy back alleyways, rundown buildings, and murky visuals through the windshield of a cab. It really and truly does subvert your expectations, now more than possibly ever. This was Bernard Herrman's final movie score, and it takes a very slow and even kinda lovely jazz score which is a bit of a contrast to the content, but it works so well. A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one from one of the greats. From Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver the man was a marvel. And hey, Scorsese did damn good directing this from perfomances to visuals and beyond, and it really wouldn't surprise me if people still said this was his best film. Bottom line, it's a great movie and I was thoroughly impressed. An easy 4 stars, 8.5/10, a true must own for any cinematic junkie.

Next time we hit one of the biggest and most acclaimed films from one of the best books ever written. So long.

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