Friday, October 06, 2006

Classic Movie Review: Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver (1976) was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert DeNiro. It might best be known for the mirror scene in which DeNiro asks himself "Are you talkin' to me?" But how is the rest of the movie, you may ask yourself.

Like another classic Robert DeNiro movie I saw recently, The Deer Hunter, Taxi Driver is more a character study than a plotted story. While I found The Deer Hunter long and boring, Taxi Driver fared a little better. Taxi Driver is a story of one man, Travi Bickle, as he goes about his life in NYC. He really has no purpose in life and starts to come apart mentally. He feels NYC is full of scum, and in the end, takes it upon himself to clean up the streets. Think Catcher in the Rye, but with an older protagonist.

There are some fine performances in this movie. De Niro shines, along with Jodie Foster, in her few scenes as an underage hooker. Cybill Shepard doesn't chew the scenery as the romantic foil to Travis, which is a good thing.

Although this is considered an American classic, I just didn't see it. Yes it was well made, but the ending was a copout. The film was building to this climax where Travis breaks down and goes on a rampage. They delievered on the rampage, but after that, there was a happy ending. Again, comparing it to The Catcher in the Rye, Taxi Driver had a flowers and lollipops ending. For a movie that had a dark undertone, it didn't deliever. Travis returns to how he was in the beginning of the movie, smiling. He goes back to driving a cab and is lauded as a hero. Very anticlimatic. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

All in all, it was an ok movie. Again, maybe because it is now part of the pantheon of American movies, I couldn't appreciate it as much if it was just another movie.

3 out of 5 Meters Running.

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