Monday 27 April 2015

Review: Taxi Driver (1976)

So the Blind Spot challenge has been a bit hit and miss for me, time constraints meant I missed the first two movies but I'm trying to keep up now.  Therefore, two weeks ago we arranged the movie night to watch our April movie - Taxi Driver.  As an contender for the Oscars Best Picture, I assumed it would be amazing.

The Blind Spot Series is proving to be a great way for Jenna and I to keep putting film nights in the diaries! This month we’re trying to be healthy so whilst Jenna cooked enough stir-fry to feed a wedding party (thanks for the extra lunch by the way!) I picked up some Weight Watchers dessert and headed to hers, armed with Taxi Driver on DVD. It proudly boasted its new ‘Wide Screen Presentation’, oh boy…

An unstable war veteran, Travis (Robert DeNiro) finds a job as a night time New York taxi driver to kill time after developing insomnia.  His obsession with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) and his determination to save pre-adolescent prostitute, Iris (Jodie Foster) lead him down a dark and dangerous path.

It was so strange to see Robert DeNiro in this! I've never seen any of his older films so I had to keep reminding myself it was even him.

I feel like is should love this movie because it is so highly praised by so many people.  I have read countless reviews from both professional critics and the bloggerverse and I just don't understand it.  I just found it a bit boring, it was a interesting subject and a creative take on the effects insomnia can have on a person but it felt like it dragged. 

All the synopsis's I have found for this, imply that him being psychotic and his obsessions lead him to extreme violence, however this seems to take forever to get to and feels dragged at the beginning and the middle.  Now I know this won't be a popular opinion so please be kind :-/ but I just didn't enjoy it.  Once it gets to the latter part of the film, it starts to get interesting and I love the shoot out scenes and the hospital scene near the end.

After Pulp Fiction last month, I wanted to mull over this film for a while before I really made a verdict on it. Taxi Driver to me was like the 70's answer to Drive (although I realise that should actually be the other way round) and it took me several viewings to really appreciate Drive for what it was. I hated it the first time round. I wouldn't say I hated Taxi Driver at all, it was an interesting character story and I was never bored, but I wasn't thrilled either.

Maybe, I need to watch it again to get a better feel for the making of the film now that I know what to expect.  The actors were all great, without a doubt, one of the highlights being Harvey Keitel but I don't feel like there was much of a story to it.  The shooting, I guess was great when it was made in the 70's but now comes across a little bit cheesy to me.

I think I need a second viewing, too! Although it's going to take a serious amount of willpower to get round it it...

I hope I don't get too much of a battering for this but that's the point of reviews I guess, multiple opinions :-)

After 3 cracking Blind Spot films, maybe it was about time we had one I didn't love so much.


  1. Someone had to give me grief and if it had to be anyone, i'm glad it was you!! I will try and watch it again but I was sooo bored, i'll probably fall asleep!! What makes it so perfect? I don't understand?! :(

    I knew I would get a battering for Interstellar as well - didn't think they would be at the same time thought ;-)

    - Jen

    1. Personally, I love a good character study, and I feel like Scorsese explores the darkest corners of a man here with a sharp eye for how violence festers and manifests itself, creating a real thought provoking look at what it means to be a man, a hero, a villain, a martyr and De Niro's searing performance is so haunting. It's like a horror film, yet so richly developed.

  2. I absolutely love this movie so I'm sorry this didn't quite work for you guys, but I hope you do give it another shot. I have it among my tops of all time and among DeNiro's best performances.

    1. I think we're definitely with the minority on this one, but I do think we should try it again sometime. It's so different to what I'm used to watching!
      - Allie

  3. Oh, it was my blindspot entry for last month. And I found it very interesting, very brilliant! Try to give it a re-watch, girls.
    Look how violent it is and how the character study goes darker and darker. You know, it has the feeling of drowning into swamp to see it, but you'll enjoy it :)

  4. HAHA! Sorry, this really made me laugh! GAWD JENNA. No to be fair I had my own problems with it, too. We'll have to make a pact to try it again sometime!
    - Allie

  5. Right - we are now in the process of planning another movie night dedicated to re-watching this in the hopes (for me) of understanding what I am missing!

    Watch this space.

    - Jenna