42. “Taxi Driver”, Martin Scorsese (1976)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.

Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

dir. Martin Scorsese scr. Paul Schrader cin. Michael Chapman with Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Kietel, Leonard Harris, Peter Boyle, Cybill Shepherd

In 100 words: Travis Bickle is one of the most iconic American film characters ever, standing in for the disaffected men coming back from the Vietnam War unsure of their place in society, and even more uncertain of how to interact with anyone else. Scorsese’s masterpiece takes on toxic masculinity in deeply affecting ways, mostly by employing a brilliant POV technique to highlight how jarringly isolated Travis feels, and capture something terrifying and dark in a man broken by life, but still hoping for connection. Viewed from the context of today’s world, it’s sadly too relevant and too frightening. De Niro’s greatest accomplishment.

Other Movies for Context: You know, given the state of current affairs in America, this movie feels closest to identifying why so many white men who join white supremacy movements feel so familiar to me. This movie feels like an explanation for their behavior. ANYWAY, Scorsese is a legendary director and we’re lucky that he’s still here making films. His most recent, Silence (2017) is my favorite of his work in a long time. But Taxi Driver also feels similar to later works, which it no doubt influenced like Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1992) and the Werner Herzog follow-up Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

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