The One Where I Heart Taxi Driver, And You Should Too
Evening kids, AT here. I've covered Tarantino - so who is next on the Holy Trinity?
I genuinely don’t know where to start…
OK. Lets start with Taxi Driver.
Probably my favourite memory of being a very average Sunday league footballer, was hating training. So I used to go to Craig Groves’ house to at least have fun on the walk in.
He was terrible at time keeping, and I was always early, so a cheeky film show, (or crucially, part of a film show), became the order of the day.
I remember a few. The Rookie was one. (Why, Craig… Why?). Alien 3 was another. But the one that got me… the one that meant there was no turning back for me, was Taxi Driver.
Now, with it being a two-hour film, we probably split that over four training sessions. Christ. That’s maybe even four weeks. Hardly the ideal way to be introduced to a classic. Still…
My point is this. The first session, which would introduce me to that score, and Marty’s cameo, and the swearing, and the “did he just say cum?” moment. I knew immediately why I shouldn’t be watching.
The second session must have included the “date”. Now, I’ve never taken a girl to a porn movie on a first date, but I’ll be honest, after seeing this… I’ve always wanted too.
I mean, I say that tongue in cheek. But who wouldn’t want to see the reaction of your date?
I think that’s a classic scene. The acting afterwards, with Travis not understanding her reaction… it’s just brilliantly played.
The whole film is.
I’ve never been a massive Jodie Foster fan. Writing this makes me realize why. For me, as accomplished as she always is (I actually think she’s better in Brave One than Silence), I don’t think she’s ever been better. She’s incredible here. Unbelievable.
By the time I got to the third quarter I was hooked. Hooked on the music. Hooked on De Niro (Bobby > Pacino Any. Day.) hooked on the general idea that a film like this existed. When you grow up on Star Wars and the like, its all well and good, but this? This is something else. It’s real cinema. Real people. Real situations.
I genuinely couldn’t shake the idea that films like this not only existed, but were revered. And there were others. Mean Streets, which I didn’t see until years after, is so grimy. So dirty. You know immediately it’s closer to real life than you would like to believe.
Taxi Driver is the same.
We all know a Travis Bickle. A Pimp, like Harvey. Not a literal pimp, you understand… someone that is out for their own. Someone who you just want rid of. Some “Hero” to wash the scum from the streets.
It goes with out saying the last part knocked me for six.
For two reasons, really.
One. I just didn’t see it coming. Didn’t see the shoot out ending like that. Didn’t think they would go so visceral. The shot in the neck. Dirty red blood spraying on the wall. A hand being blown off, way before Verhoevan got there.
It’s still shocking now. And brilliantly edited. A few jumpy edits, and just a feeling of unease. I felt uncomfortable watching. It’s a crescendo of noise. Pure violence. You know it’s not real, but it could be a documentary. The camera crawling along the wall, wiping blood off the lens. Dirty blood.
Two. The “Hollywood” ending. Turning it round that it’s a “happy ending”. I have to say, I laugh even typing that. If you think about it, it’s the sickest ending ever. Travis Bickle. A Hero? Ha. Why not?
I’ve always thought they may do a follow up, you know. And be honest, with those two, who wouldn’t want it? Set now. I’d love to know what Travis Bickle is up too.
Not safe for work... but wow. What a scene. Like a Western. Pretty much perfect.