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Taxi Driver

Review Written by: Mitch Beaupre
Film: A+
What the MPAA Rating should be: R (for language and brutal violence)

Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Paul Schrader
Produced by: Julia Phillips and Michael Phillips
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, Cybil Shepherd, Albert Brooks, Peter Boyle
Studio: Columbia Pictures

"You talkin to me?"

Over the years, Martin Scorsese has become known as being one of the greatest directors of all time. Some even declare that he is greater than both the late Alfred Hitchcock and the late Stanley Kubrick, possibly the two greatest men to ever grace film with their presence. However, after watching the masterpiece that is Taxi Driver, I find it rather hard to disagree with this statement. Everything about this film shines with complete perfection. There was not one instance where I found myself thinking "Oh well that wasn't really necessary" or "Well maybe he should've added that there," as I do with almost every film I watch. I mean every serious film critic out there knows that every single film has a flaw, no matter how small it is. Regardless of that fact, I am struggling to find a single flaw in Taxi Driver.

Maybe the acting is flawed? Not at all, in fact the acting is as far from flawed as you can possibly get. The lead performance is played brilliantly by Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle, a Vietnam war veteran who slowly becomes more and more unhinged over the course of the film. As we all know, De Niro is an amazing actor and among the greats, but this performance severely outshines anything else I have seen from him in my career of film viewing. Yes, that means it was better than his performance of Neil McCauley in Heat. Better than his performance of Michael Vronsky in The Deer Hunter. Yes my friends, even better than his infamous, Academy Award-winning performance as Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II. This was De Niro's single greatest performance of his career.

The acting is in fact where Taxi Driver really shines. As previously mentioned De Niro gives the best performance of his career, but there are so many other amazing performances here. Jodie Foster, who was only fourteen years old at the time, does a stupendous job of playing Iris, a twelve and a half year old prostitue who develops more of a friendship than a relationship with De Niro's Travis Bickle. In fact, her performance was so fantastic that she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Keep in mind, she was only fourteen at the time! Harvey Keitel also delivers a spectacular performance in his third credited feature film as "Sport", Iris' pimp who "delivers" Iris to Bickle. The range of Keitel is surprising, as you see a sweet, sensative, gentleman-like side to a pimp when you normally see them as coldblooded hoodlums only looking out for money and themselves. Sport really has a deep, emotional relationship with Iris in the film and Scorsese does a great job of realistically showing that a pimp can have a soft side. The other fantastic supporting role is by Cybill Sheperd as Betsy, the beautiful blonde that Bickle falls for at the beginning of the film. Her eventual rejection of Bickle ultimately leads to his final scene of unhingement.

Keep in mind that the acting is not the only spectacular attribute of Taxi Driver. The original screenplay by Paul Schrader is phenomenal and to this day remains one of a kind. I have yet to witness a film with a screenplay remotely similar to Schrader's. The final point of perfection in this film is the flawless score. The primary piece that repeats throughout the film is delightful at first and turned into a haunting display of orchestra by the end.

A flawless film, with flawless acting, a flawless screenplay and a flawless score. Taxi Driver is a must and Scorsese's best.

The famous mirror scene with Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.
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