When speaking about "Taxi Driver" on an interview in the blu ray collection, Martin Scorsese called this movie a very personal movie from the heart. After watching the film twice, I can really sense the authentic emotion that was put in to the writing and directing. "Taxi Driver" has some of the most amazing performances ever, an almost hallucinogenic cinematography to set the mood, a storyline that will haunt the viewer, and a beautiful music score. If I had to make a top 5 movie list, this one would definitely be included, because it is the masterpiece of Scorsese's career, and one of the best films of the 1970's.
"Taxi Driver" follows the life of a PTSD stricken man named Travis Bickle. The viewer sees his life from the start of his job as a taxi driver, all the way through his disturbing journey of cleaning of his town full of scum.
The casting in this film was about as perfect as it could get. Robert De Niro gave a frightening performance as Travis. He started as a very kind and mild mannered person, but as he deteriorates mentally, the viewer really sees a man that becomes ruthless. This is definitely my favorite De Niro performance, because he really went all out for it. Cybill Shephard was casted well as Travis' love Betsy, because she really had the complete beauty that Travis describes, and her performance was subtle to the point where Betsy felt like a real person. Harvey Keitel was pretty amazing as "Sport," because he really created the personality of a terrible person, and he made me uncomfortable at certain points. Jodie Foster did not end up having as big of a part as I thought she did, but she was still perfect as Iris. It was impossible to not feel a lot of pain and sympathy for her, and I dreaded every scene where she was in a bad situation. Her reactions to tragedy were also way ahead of any other child actor I have seen, because the trauma seemed authentic to the point of concern. Peter Boyle gave one heck of a supporting performance as "Wizard," because he had such a cool way about him, and he felt natural in the role.
Cinematography and visuals were a huge part of this movie, because they really set the mood and portrayed how Travis' mind was working. I love the night shots of the city that come from the windows of the taxi, because it really shows the setting from his eyes, and it just had such a cool feel. The climax was also shot perfectly, because the slow motion and zooming away of the camera gave such a chilling aura.
I have heard quite a few people complain about the musical score of this film, but I feel like that is because they don't understand it. Bernard Herrmann created a perfect jazz score, and it was once again to show what was going on in Travis' mind. He specifically said in the movie that he did not know a lot about the popular music, so a contemporary score would have been inappropriate. His character was a fan of jazz, as the viewer could see when he listened to the jazz drummer on the street, so having that style of music was the ideal way to go.
The reason why this movie is the classic it is today is the ending. I have never seen something that is so haunting and confusing in my entire life. The climatic fight scene between Travis and the men of the brothel is possibly the most unflinchingly graphic violence ever, and each death makes me cringe. Then when the cops in, Travis' final brink of insanity makes my head explode as he laughs like a psycho. The thing that really messed with my head is the scene that follows. The super happy ending of everyone seeing Travis as a hero is almost surreal in a sense, because while he stopped the prostitution ring of that town, he also brutally murdered three people. This is the ending that people could hope for, but it really surprised me that Scorsese actually gave it to the viewer.
"Taxi Driver" is really one of those movies that any fan of the cinema has to see. It is a masterpiece in the realms of "The Godfather," and it is a piece of art like a Van Gogh painting. The only thing I can say is to wait for a day where your head is in a good place, because this film is beyond heavy, and it is really hard on the emotions. Otherwise, I totally recommend "Taxi Driver" to you all!