A mentally unstable cab driver becomes disillusioned by the sleaze of
New York City's nightlife and takes it upon himself to take violent action.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by Paul Schrader
Starring Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd,
Harvey Keitel, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle, Leonard Harris
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert De Niro),
Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster), Best Original Score
Considering how massive a Scorsese fan I am, I'll admit that it's criminal that it's taken me this long to finally watch Taxi Driver, a film that many Scorsese purists consider to be his masterpiece. It's a phenomenal watch that still holds up, thanks mostly to Robert De Niro's mesmerizing performance as a war vet gradually descending into absolute madness. The entire movie is a tossup of reality. Maybe it did happen, but maybe it happened entirely in his head. Scorsese leaves it up to you to decide, and personally, I'm in the latter category. But the film is so good that it could go either way, and it would still be brilliant.
De Niro plays the now iconic role of Travis Bickle, a sociopathic cab driver who becomes disgusted by the filth of society that he sees in New York City at night. It drives him crazy, and he decides to take action when he meets Iris, a 12-year-old prostitute played by a young Jodie Foster in her big break. Travis's attempts to forge any sort of relationship are simply uncomfortable, as he has no clue how to talk to normal people, and he acts like they're the problem when they cast him aside. It's no wonder Todd Phillips sought this film out for influence when he made Joker.
Taxi Driver is a film that every movie buff has to watch at least once. It's a critical piece of the Scorsese puzzle and cemented Robert De Niro as a permanent force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. And to witness this kind of psychopath for the first time is an oddly rewarding experience. This film jump-started the careers of arguably the greatest actor/director duo in film history, and for that alone, we should celebrate this bizarre but important work of cinematic genius.