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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Taxi Driver (1976)

A lonely and depressed 26 year old ex-Marine (Robert De Niro) with chronic insomnia takes a job driving a cab all night. When his attempts to reach out to a pretty political campaign worker (Cybill Shepherd) is a failure, he decides to rescue a 12 year old prostitute (Jodie Foster). It's difficult to describe the powerful impact certain films had when they opened to people who weren't there. PSYCHO (1960) comes to mind, LAST TANGO IN PARIS of course and absolutely Martin Scorsese's TAXI DRIVER is another. Certainly the graphic violent content (Scorsese had to desaturate the color of the bloodbath that ends the film in order to get an R rating) pushed the envelope, the relationship of the child prostitute and her pimp would have a hard time making it to the screen today. And no one was prepared for De Niro's stunning performance, so raw and visceral that he made his character of Travis Bickle into an iconic figure of 70s cinema. Amazingly, nearly 40 years later, the film has lost none of its power and Bickle's genuinely frightening skewered mindset seems as topical today as ever! The word masterpiece is overused and thrown around so much at good but hardly masterpiece movies that it hardly seems relevant anymore. That being said, TAXI DRIVER is a masterpiece. And mention must be made of Bernard Herrmann's brilliant score. With Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle, Diahnne Abbott and Leonard Harris.   

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