Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Taxi Driver (1976)



Reviews and Comments

Taxi Driver, an early film by Martin Scorsese, was a masterful accomplishment of character building. It gave Robert De Niro his trademark line ("Are you talkin' to me?"), it confirmed Martin Scorsese's talent as a director, and the film has become a cult favorite. It's also sickening, unpleasant, and made me want to take a shower. Taxi Driver is, quite simply, too effective. It's too effective at portraying the grime and sleaze of lower class, inner city life. On the one hand, I acknowledge and praise the greatness of the storytelling; on the other, I am puzzled by why anyone thought this sordid tale needed to be told. In the film, Scorsese creates a vivid, atmospheric world of moral corruption and a confused, lonely human spirit trying to break free of it -- yet one that is an inextricable product of that very world. Much talk has been made about the film's ending. What is it saying? I'm not completely sure, but I loved the sardonic irony of it all.

But the bottom line is I think too many are too quick to praise the artful vividness of the world Scorsese has built in Taxi Driver and not enough question whether this is a good thing. As I've said in other reviews, a well-made nuclear weapon is still a nuclear weapon.