#NZFF Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver is a film that I’ve been meaning to get round to watching for some time, but never did, so it was an easy decision to jump at the chance to see it on the big screen.
For the most part however, Taxi Driver was a disappointment. Martin Scorsese who annoyed the crap out of me with Shutter Island used the same techniques that he would use many years later on Shutter Island in Taxi Driver, mainly the over dramatic music seemingly used to create a sense of drama in an otherwise uneventful script.
This is a tale of an unstable Vietnam war veteran whose inability to sleep at night gives him the impetus to become a nighttime taxi driver, a job that might suit his insomniac tendencies, but does nothing for his mental health. Spending the nights driving around a city that is flooded with what he sees as decadence and sleaze only adds fuel to his violent inner demons, who want nothing more that to be allowed to emerge pass a violent and bloody justice on the city.
Redemption it seems may come from Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) a young lady he notices one night, but socially inept, the Taxi Driver takes her on a date to watch a porno, severing any chance at a ‘normal’ life and giving his hatred a real target.
The film does however find some redemption in the wonderfully cast Jodie Foster as Iris, a 12 year old prostitute. This along with a young Harvey Keitel more than make up for having to endure Robert De Niro and Cybill Shepherd. The slow and meandering tale finds it’s purpose in the violent and mesmerizing climax where the Taxi Driver shows us all how close the line is between insanity and heroic.
Scorsese forces you down a long and painful road, but the payoff, the magnificent sub story of a young runaway lost and without hope, is worth the price of admission alone.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read