” You talkin to me”  says the protagonist Travis Bickle to himself in front of a mirror played by the great Robert De Niro in the Scorsese classic Taxi Driver. This dialogue also quite beautifully captures the essence of this movie i.e. loneliness . What makes this movie an all time classic is the master class direction from Martin Scorsese along with great performances to boot especially by the legendary De Niro.

                              The movie begins with the protagonist Travis Bickle (De Niro) an Vietnam war veteran turned taxi driver who is living a very depressed and lonely life in New York city.  His loneliness forces Travis to spend most of his time in seedy porn theatres in the city. One fine day Travis happens to see Betsy(Cyril Shepherd) a campaign volunteer for Senator Charles Palantine (Leonard Harris) and develops a romantic interest in her. As a result Travis is compelled to pursue Betsy which he does and even gets her to reciprocate his feelings which results in a date. It is at this point that the life of Travis quickly spirals downhill to the verge of insanity when he takes his date to watch a porn movie. This results in Betsy leaving  Travis’s life out of sheer disgust causing a real drastic change in the psyche  of  Travis. It causes Travis to seek some redemption on account of this rejection  and so prepares himself for what he considers as his “mission” towards redemption. He finds his mission in rescuing a child prostitute named Iris (Jodie Foster) from the clutches of a slimy pimp Sport (Harvey Kietel). This obsession of  Travis eventually leads to a very gory and an absolute stunning climax.

                               To start with one of the great features of the movie is the basic idea of  studying a disturbed mind on the verge of insanity through the eyes of the protagonist Travis Bickle. The idea is only brought to life beautifully because of detailed writing by one of  America’s most powerful writer’s of the early seventies Paul Schrader who also went on to write Ragging Bull another Scorsese classic. Adding to crisp writing was the sharp editing by Tom Rolf  and Melvin Shapiro which added a certain amount of tautness to the script. The say that a great background music sets the mood for the movie.This is precisely what the great Bernard Hermann provides for the movie a real haunting score which certainly reflects the mood of the movie ( the movie’s theme score which is basically jazz certainly stands out). Finally it is the duty of the director to give the project its proper shape and this is where the genius of Scorsese comes into play. The entire movie is directed with great deal of skills especially the climax which involved a lot of technicalities and vision which Scorsese handled remarkably brilliantly and full credit for this master piece to Scorsese.

                                    Coming to the cast which had some brilliant actors in it such as De Niro, Kietel, the performances definitely matched up to expectations of the standards set by all the cast members. To start with young Jude Foster as Iris was brilliant as a charming yet  naive girl trapped in the world of prostitution which eventually fetched Foster a nomination in the best supporting actress category for the Academy Awards in 1976. The brilliant Harvey Kietel is another stand out as the pimp Sport even though the role was not a meaty one for an actor of such class. Peter Boyle as Wizard one of the fellow taxi drivers with Travis is also brilliant and particularly stands out in the scene in which De Niro’s character shares his violent thoughts with him at the point where he seems to be on the verge of insanity. The lead actress Cybill Shepherd though not fortunate to have a meaty role was really competent as Betsy especially in the initial scenes with De Niro. Last but not the least the lifeline of the movie is De Niro has Travis Bickle he is just sheer delight to watch as he puts in life into the character so much so that it becomes hard to differentiate between De Niro and the character Bickle on screen. In fact such is the impact of his performance that at a point you only see the character on screen and not De Niro. The simple fact that for preparing for this role De Niro actually got himself  a taxi drivers license and drove around New York city as a taxi driver gives ample evidence of his dedication to his craft. For this he was also deservedly rewarded with a best actor nomination for the Academy Awards in 1976.

                           Overall this movie is great piece of work by a sheer genius of a man called Martin Scorsese. This movie not only required courage to make it but also required vision as the movie was made well before its time. It is for this very reason that not many would like watching the movie which certainly is one of the only major flaw in the otherwise great movie. All one can say is that even after thirty six years from its release the movie still retains its charm and certainly stands the test of time which in turn certainly proves  the fact that a great movie will always remain great forever.

The brilliant De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

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  ' You talkin to me'  says the protagonist Travis Bickle to himself in front of a mirror played by the great Robert De Niro in the Scorsese classic Taxi Driver. This dialogue also quite beautifully captures the essence of this movie i.e. loneliness . What makes this movie an...