New York City, New York: Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is a Vietnam
veteran who since being dispatched suffers from inssomnia. And since he is
a bit of a simpleton with no real interests, and he dosn't like to hang
out in porn theatres all the time, he becomes a taxi driver, working
primarily the night shifts. He drives everything, from politicians to
perverts to hookers to low-lives, and he's one of those drivers who goes
to all the burroughs, too.
Very slowly, Travis comes to the conclusion
that somebody has to do something to clean up the filth soiling the city,
but that's no more than a crude idea. When young Iris (Jodie Foster) jumps
into his car and asks him to get her out of here but gets pulled out of
his car again and he's paid money to forget everything, he realizes he has
become part of the filth though. However, he never spends this money.
falls in love with a campaign worker, Betsy (Cybill Shepherd), and after
initially hesitating, she goes out with him, too, and at first finds him
fascinating, mainly because he's very different from and more down to
earth than the college crowd she normally hangs out with. But then, when
she suggests to go to the movies, he takes her to a porn theatre - after
which she breaks off all contact. Travis becomes enraged, and he wants to
take his rage out on Palantine (Leonard Harris), the very politician Betsy
is campaigning for ...
Travis meets Iris again and finds out she's an
underage prostitute. She wants to save her from her pimp (Harvey Keitel)
and from her life of mysery, even though she claims she doesn't need
saving. Her encounter with Travis has however seeded some doubts inside
her that what she is doing is right ...
Travis buys himself all sorts of
weapons and prepares to kill Palantine, but when he's already at the
scene, he is found out by a secret service man and can only just get away.
So Travis rechannels his rage and goes to the place Iris is doing business
at, blows away her pimp, shoots at everything that is moving around her
(but leaves her unharmed), and ultimately he wants to kill himself, but
has no bullets left and thus waits for the police to show up ...
his killing spree has made Travis into a hero, and has made even Betsy
proud of him ... but this might just be a daydream ...
deserved classic and a very powerful film, Taxi Driver is
remarkableprimarily for its directorial and narrative understatement: The
story is extremely slim and anjoyably devoid of unnecessary subplots or
endless explanations, the camera shows New York City as what it is, often
captures street scenes and the like, rather than painting pretty,
high-gloss pictures, and the action scenes are raw and brutal, but devoid
of gratuitous violence or glorifying the violence as such. Add to this
Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, who are both amazing in their roles, and
you got a masterpiece!