BLINDSPOT 2018, AUGUST: TAXI DRIVER

It’s too early to say, since I have four movies to go, but I think Taxi Driver is my favourite Blindspot pick of this year. Better than 2001: A Space Odyssey, better than the Before trilogy, and yes, a little better than The Shining. With Taxi Driver I felt more at ease, and more pleased by the end of it. Because the focus matter, the topic, the themes – it all sort of clicked.

My favourite thing about Taxi Driver is that despite being a 70’s movie, its subject matter is very current. It deals with depression, insomnia and harmful thoughts, which lead towards destructive choices. It also reminded me a lot of Nightcrawler, which in turn made me love Taxi Driver and Nightcrawler even more. The two films compliment each other well, and there are strong parallels between the two movies. But most importantly, both films heavily feature a troubled main character, who both, in their minds, think they are heroes.

Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a veteran, who takes on a nighttime job as a taxi driver. He does this because he can’t sleep, so he has something to do, while he’s supposed to be sleeping. During the day he goes to movie theatres and watches adult films, getting no real satisfaction out of them. Travis, in addition to being anti-social, lonely and depressed, is lost.

Loneliness has followed me my whole life, everywhere.
– Travis Bickle

So he finds himself purpose. At first it’s a beautiful woman named Betsy (Cybill Shepard), who Travis tries to win over. In the beginning he succeeds, mostly because he is cocky and arrogant, unable to see his own flaws. Then he takes her to an adult film screening, a date destination which Betsy obviously does not like. In return, he starts to obsess over getting his revenge on her for walking out. Which is why he sets his sights on the political campaign she’s working for.

Meanwhile he encounters another character, Iris (Jodie Foster), who is an underaged prostitute. He tries to save her, fails but when his ultimate plan against the political campaign is a bust, tries again. Which leads us to the infamous final scene.

Taxi Driver is a complex movie because it doesn’t really give us an answer. Travis is as lost as he was in the beginning of the film, as he is at the end. The only difference being, people think of him as a hero. But before his ultimate heroic act, Travis thought killing a politician was heroic… So where does the hero in Travis end, and the villain begin?


BLIND SPOT SERIES WAS CREATED BY RYAN OVER AT THE MATINEE AND IS HOSTED BY SOFIA OVER AT RETURNING VIDEOTAPES

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12 Comments

    1. Yes, I think the theme and the topic of the film is very relevant now. I guess that’s why I enjoyed it this much, because it didn’t feel like a classic, it felt like a current film.

    1. Well, I guess the universe likes balance! 😀 Too bad you didn’t like yours though, since it will be my last film of the Blindspot series this year!!

  1. I haven’t seen this one in years, but I remember being blown away by it.

    This post makes me want to watch it again, immediately. Maybe even as a double-dip with Nightcrawler, which I f–king loved so much. Man, that would be a wild/slightly depressing double feature, don’t you think?

    1. It would be depressing.. but I think interesting. As the two in my mind are so similar, I’m guessing more similarities would arise when watched back to back.

  2. I am SO HAPPY you enjoyed this film so much. It’s still my all-time favorite, for many of the reasons you mentioned. Travis Bickle is the ultimate gray character; it’s damn near impossible to distinguished were his good intentions start, and his bad intentions end (or vice versa). I love your final paragraph so much. Could not agree more.

    1. Thank you so much! Sometimes a movie just manages to bring those paragraphs out of me, and I do like what I have written here, but I like your compliment more! 🙂

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