Monday, April 10, 2017

Taxi Driver

I'm slowly going through an inventory of old movie "classics", and watched this one yesterday.

My take is that the plot would have been equivalent and in most respects better if it had chronicled a cabby in San Francisco slowly having a nervous breakdown, then jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, surviving, then finding a new lease on life.

I don't know why people think it is deep and "real" covering seamy stories we all know about, but doing so without any higher purpose, without any redemption.

Travis wanted to kill himself.  Option A was taken--that of killing a Presidential candidate whose only crime was being supported by a woman who, with considerable justification--had rejected him, so he went with Option B.  Iris was an after-thought.  His plan was if he couldn't get death by cop, he would get death by mobster.  Option C, which also failed, was simple suicide.  He ran out of bullets.  That's all.

Scorsese seems to think that extreme violence equals depth.  In the respect that it mirrors latent violence within so many people trapped in this giant rat cage, yes, it is deep.  But violence in itself is not redemptive.  It teaches nothing.  There is no lesson to be learned.  This is not an old school western where the bad guys are punished, and the rule of law and principle upheld.  This is a chaotic emergence from a world where everyone is venal, dark, sick, and lost.  Travis is not a good man.  He is suffering from undiagnosed trauma--likely traumas--of various sorts.  This is why he can't sleep.  He would have been more honest as a full blown alcoholic who spent his money on whores.

As Iris said, Sport was not a killer.  Nor was he abusive, even if we can all grant that having sex with a 12 year old is sick.  Travis was a killer.  But we are supposed to side with him, apparently.

I can check that movie off, but I can say with some finality that I am not a Scorsese fan.

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