OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Taxi Driver

Must-See Cinema! The first great collaboration between Scorsese and De Niro!

Taxi Driver posterIn case there’s anyone who doesn’t know: Taxi Driver describes one stiflingly hot summer in the life of Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), an alienated ex-Marine who’s drifted to New York. Unable to sleep at night, Travis becomes a cab driver, cruising a city that seems to him a hell. He becomes obsessed in turn with two women. The first is Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), a campaign worker for a presidential candidate; the second is Iris (Jodie Foster), a preteen prostitute. For Travis, Betsy is the madonna he wants to turn into a whore and Iris is the whore he believes he can save.
 
In the first act, Travis’s rage is diffuse; he rides around in his cab, more a witness than a man of action. In the second, he finds a mission and an object for his rage. In the third, he puts his homicidal fantasies into action.
 
The carnage that ends Taxi Driver is as devastating – and voluptuous – as anything in American movies, all the more because of the repression and disassociation that govern the preceding 100 or so minutes. Nothing reveals Scorsese’s filmmaking chops so much as his control of this total change of register. The nightmare America deserves, Taxi Driver is never more true than when it’s most reprehensible.
 
– Amy Taubin, The Village Voice

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