Taxi Driver: I am preparing to commit sacrilege, but I don’t think it passes the test of time.
There you are, I’ve said it. My film reviewers’ credibility (if I had any) has just gone hurtling out of the metaphorical window. But before you judge me, let me put my case.
You see, I had never seen Taxi Driver before. “What??? He calls himself a movie geek and he’s never seen Taxi Driver?”
Yes, and while I’m about it let me confess that I haven’t seen Apocalyse Now (but I will be doing so shortly), nor have I seen Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. In fact, I reckon we should probably do a separate section in which I and my band of followers admit to which classic films we haven’t seen. I could make all sorts of excuses of why I seem to have ticked off every Kate Hudson or Jennifer Anniston romcom but haven’t seen these ‘classics’ but I’m not going to. It is what it is and everyfilmin2011 is helping me to make up some ground.
Thus, Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is on re-release, so here we are.
I ordered it from Lovefilm and we even bought a new DVD player especially for the event. But within 30 minutes Mrs W had disappeared to do some ironing and after 45 minutes I needed to have a walk around because I was dropping off. Honestly, the building up of De Niro‘s Travis Bickle character is so slow and deliberate it is hard to believe it could possibly come from the same director as Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Cape Fear.
De Niro is good but gets better in his career and Cybill Shepherd and Albert Brooks do solid turns. But it isn’t until the last 45 minutes that the screen lights up to the brilliance of Jodie Foster.
Foster was just 13 when she played child prostitute Iris. Her performance, short as it is, is remarkable and laid down clear markers for her memorable career. But overall, I just didn’t feel the movie’s suspense building in the way that I was expecting.
Perhaps Taxi Driver’s laid-back 70s-style jazz soundtrack didn’t help.
I honestly thought I might have a challenge this week. Would a re-release find its way to the top of 2011’s top ten movies? Well, this one won’t. Nowadays it can only be judged as a good not great movie and I’m only giving it 7/10.
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Running time: 113 minutes
Released: May 13th 2011
Director: Martin Scorsese
Producers: Michael Philips and Julia Philips
Screenplay: Paul Schrader
Music: Bernard Herrmann
Travis Bickle: Robert De Niro
Iris: Jodie Foster
Sport: Harvey Keitel
Betsy: Cybill Shepherd