|February 8, 1976|
|Crime, Drama, Thriller
Rated R for violence and profanity
Robert De Niro warrants respect. Most critics revere the man. That sort of admiration is earned, not by luck, but with hard work and ventures with great directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese, both of which tend to draw the best out of De Niro. There is an aura about De Niro that makes him approachable, more so as a young actor than the distinguished mentor that he has become today. His smile reveals an off-kiltered dimension, creating a true star and not just another cookie cutter protagonist. Mention De Niro and if The Godfather-Part Two or Goodfellas are not the first films mentioned, Taxi Driver will be one of the next most proclaimed films in his repertoire.
Who knows the streets of New York City better than Martin Scorsese? View even a handful of Scorsese’s films and any one can tell that Scorsese knows what he is portraying. Immersing his characters into these realistic and decadent worlds brings to light the true art that Scorsese has with the film medium. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to experience Mean Streets, which was one of the duos first pairings. The dynamic that the loose cannon De Niro added to the film made it one of Scorsese’s most memorable films. Taxi Driver is another one of those films and with De Niro at the helm, there is no doubt this could be their best endeavor.
One has to be curious as to what makes Taxi Driver a favorite De Niro film. Perhaps this shifts with passing generations, yet Travis Bickle (De Niro) is an iconic character that stands for something. He is desolate and misguided, completely devoted and easily distracted, all which makes him a perfect subject for audiences to latch on to. Bickle reaches curiously out into the world that surrounds him yet stays somehow secluded in his own mind, lonely but open to life. He represents freedom, in almost a Che-like uniform and heavy metal mohawk. By the end of the film, his freeing of a young prostitute (Jodie Foster) even drives that anarchist/revolutionist even more so.
No matter what your favorite Robert De Niro or Martin Scorsese actually is, Taxi Driver continues to fill film conversations to this day, remaining relevant while solidifying its place as a classic.