Martin Scorcese and Paul Schrader, “Taxi Driver”

“The days go on and on… they don’t end. All my life needed was a sense of someplace to go. I don’t believe that one should devote his life to morbid self-attention, I believe that one should become a person like other people.”

In general, I am not a fan of Martin Scorcese, but Taxi Driver is a tremendous movie. Scorcese has incredible style and camerawork (as in the classic hallway/payphone scene) but his films frequently suffer from structural and pacing problems. His flicks (especially once he gets into the 80’s) tend to move too fast, and he compensates by making the scenes and characters hyperbolic, such that the whole affair assumes something of the vaudevillian. Taxi Driver, on the other hand, has a much stronger structure, with great credit due to Schrader’s terrific script. So much to admire: the way that each stage of the film makes way for the next…Bickle’s elliptical monologues and sublime inarticulation…it simmers instead of cartwheeling. Great stuff.

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