Walk out into Time Square and you’ll be greeted with waving M&M’s, super heroes and sesame street characters taking pictures with kids for money, and wide eyed tourists gazing at the bright lights of the big city. Now, compare that to the Time Square and New York that is featured in Martin Scorsese’s seminal work, Taxi Driver. Neon lights reflect off the dirty, water logged streets. Hookers and pimps populate the sidewalks with no Elmo insight.
The 1976 film, written by Paul Schrader, intimately follows Travis Bickle, played by Robert Deniro. Bickle is a Vietnam vet who studies the seedy under belly of a corrupt city from the vantage point of his taxi Cab. As the film plays out, the viewer gets pulled deeper and deeper in to Bickle’s psychological delusions.
Taxi Driver is a classic character study of a troubled man who is fed up with the moral grime of 1970’s New York City. Scorsese's use of close ups and DeNiro’s childlike narration work together to create and unnerving picture that is simultaneously disturbing and fascinating.
Bernard Herrmann’s beautiful Jazz score is also one of the great film scores. The romantic tone of the saxophone seems like it would be more at home in the black and white New York of Woody Allen’s, Manhattan.
Next Wednesday, 01/20, Boston Public Radio will be talking about Taxi Driver with Garen Daly. We want you to rewatch the film and join in on the conversation. Just make sure if you do call in to ask, “Are you talking to me?”
You can view Taxi Driver here on ITunes.