Ben Wyatt's Low Cal Calzone Zone
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Golfing with Stephen Hawking, he lied about his handicap. Didn't need a golf cart though, I just sat in his lap.
Re: General Movie Discussion Part II
Watched Taxi Driver (1976) last night, astounding movie.
I'd heard of the basic plot so initially I was a bit glum with how they built the isolation and violence brewing inside Travis but never capitalised on it until near the climax of the film. However I slowly began to appreciate the approach they were taking, that being the study of the isolation and disturbed mind of a human being and how it impacts on every person he encounters in the film. It wasn't meant to be a Die Hard bloodbath. You never doubted for a second his increasingly disturbing thoughts would soon be unleashed on the streets of New York, so the film intended to try and place you into his mind and see the city from his point of view and understand his insecurity, his anger, his loneliness and just how mentally unstable he truly was.
I loved the supporting cast and how they were used. Cybill Shepard's character wasn't prominent after the first 30 minutes, but she was a great character for Travis to grow fond of and show on some level he could care and feel emotion like others. Of course when his unique personality and lack of understanding proves too much for her we see the first glimpse of the true anger and hatred that consumes Travis and realise the man we're watching whilst enigmatic and powerful is also deeply dangerous. Peter Boyle and the rest of his fellow Taxi Drivers were also used well in relation to Travis. I really loved how Travis could openly speak to them about some of his 'thoughts' and none of them realised just how dark and disturbed they truly were. The movie really did tackle the mental instability of the main character superbly and it really feels quite harrowing when you think of real life killers who have made headlines through massacring civilians and how lifelike Travis is to a lot of them.
De Niro was just incredible though in the main role. You can certainly see why he was the main man in films during this part of his career. He's just pitch perfect in his mannerisms and the way he portrays a balance between charm and lunacy in the Travis character. I also thought the scenes were he's alone in his apartment with the gun were also quite chilling, especially because you can just forsee his rapid descent into madness and struggle to believe anyone is safe from his inevitabble rampage.
I loved the ending as well. Not sure if I read too much into it but I'm guessing the initial tease of him assasinating the senator and potential next President, only to be spotted and then kill the pimp and henchmen who control Iris and in the process become something of a hero was done to essentially highlight how society will continually ignore Travis (even in his height of fame) and not recognise the danger that he so obviously possesses. For most of the film he's a loner observing the streets, somehow empty in the busiest and most vibrant city in the world. Now he's known to the media and public as a hero when he's still as dysfunctional and angry as ever, his disgust and mental instability showing no signs of recovery and its only a matter of time before he makes the news again, albeit for more darker reasons.
I'd definitely call it a cinematic masterpiece. The soundtrack is engrossing and tense and adds to a multitude of scenes, the acting is stellar and the cinematography is majestic in capturing the filth and dirtiness of New York that consumes Travis with hatred every day. Think I'll try and watch Raging Bull in the coming days as well.