Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) struggles to sleep, so has to find ways to kill his time 24 hours a day. He gets a job driving taxis for long hours every night and spends his days driving round the city. He meets a girl, but not being very socially adept, Travis soon finds himself to be single again. He doesn’t take being alone too well and before you know it he makes it his mission to protect underage prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster) by ridding the New York streets of some of their scum.
Taxi Driver is a hard-hitting drama from Martin Scorsese surrounding mainly the title character. I had high expectations for this film even though, apart from the obvious, I didn’t have much clue as to what it was about, so I was quite surprised when it turned out the way it did, which was following the case of a loner with issues. Although I did massively enjoy it and would have no objection to see it again, I think the expectations I had built for myself set me up to be slightly disappointed by Taxi Driver. For some reason, I had got the idea in my head that the entire film would follow De Niro going through New York in his taxi killing people – please don’t ask where that came from…
Nevertheless, I did hugely enjoy the film, mainly thanks to De Niro’s brilliant performance. As the film revolved around Travis, a very strong performance was required from the actor who played him, and De Niro certainly delivered just that. He made Travis seem really cute at the beginning – a lonely insomniac who just wanted to be loved, bless him! Travis tried so hard to give girlfriend Betsy everything she wanted by buying her a record and taking her to a movie, but because he was a borderline sociopath, he did struggle, and the phone call he made to her after that fateful date made me go ‘awwww’. De Niro just pulled a face and spoke in a way where you just knew he would treat her right and I felt so sorry for him. As the film played out, Travis became increasingly unhinged and the cuteness fell away slightly. De Niro is very good at playing big characters, and he didn’t disappoint here. When it comes to that notorious scene, and he asks that famous question, ‘Are you talkin’ to me?’ it’s just magical. Even the audience feels slightly intimidated when it comes to that part. This is where the full severity of Travis’ problems comes to light and everyone knows that big things are going to happen.
De Niro is backed up by the likes of Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel and they all make for good viewing, however I would say that Taxi Driver is more of a very in depth character study than anything else. There was no real plot line, just the day to day events of Travis’ life.
All in all, yes, I enjoyed Taxi Driver and thought it was a good film, however I didn’t think it was the best film I have ever seen. De Niro’s acting was brilliant, and he proves why he is one of Hollywood’s heavyweights, however because of how closely this film follows the main character and not a lot else, I don’t think this would be to everyone’s liking.