Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel
Director: Martin Scorsese
Running Time: 114 mins
Taxi Driver is an American film about a mentally unstable Vietnam veteran-turned-night time New York cabbie who descends into a world of decadence, however he meets a child prostitute who he intends to save from this sleazy underworld.
Obviously, this is as grungy as Scorsese ever gets, but it’s also as mentally disturbing and fascinating as I’ve ever seen. Some stunning cinematography, an incredible central performance by Robert DeNiro, supported by a mind-blowingly mature showing from a young Jodie Foster, and a fantastic screenplay make this one of the most fascinating and atmospheric films I’ve seen in a long time.
Firstly, let’s talk about Mr. Robert DeNiro’s timeless performance. While his character is shady, consistently threatening and tense, particularly when he falls into this New York underworld, there’s a strangely likeable element to Travis Bickle, who seems to show more humanity as he becomes more violent, making it easier for you to relate to him and get dragged further into the story.
Another stunning performance here is the one by the 14-year-old Jodie Foster, who puts in a child performance unlike any other. Her character, a preadolescent prostitute in New York City, is incredibly complex, with an absolutely fascinating story behind her that really makes you too wish she could escape from this terrible life, however Foster’s performance is so mature and convincing that you can’t think that this isn’t a real idea, making it an even more horrifying watch towards the end.
Meanwhile, Martin Scorsese does his typically fantastic job of directing the film (while he also puts in a frankly chilling little cameo). He uses bizarre camera angles, and a fantastically grungy and dark atmosphere prevails through his cinematographic brilliance.
However, I have to say that there is just one small problem with this film: the score. The whole thing is meant to be very grungy and psychological, however it’s got an annoyingly jazzy backing track, which at times really ruins the effect of the dark story and atmosphere on screen, but despite that, this film is still a fascinating classic, and that’s why it gets an 8.2.