Friday, June 16, 2017

Behind the wheel

Okay, so I just finally watched Taxi Driver all the way through. That is one beautiful movie. I mean, I can't imagine that it did much for New York's tourism industry (they survived) but the colors and the camera movements are gorgeous. Sounds beautiful too. It's basically Bernard Herrmann's last score, and he gives it a classic noirish romanticism.

Robert De Niro is phenomenal as Travis Bickle, of course, a social misfit despite his youthful beauty. There's not really a weak performance in the movie. Harvey Keitel could have disappeared after this one. He plays a pimp whose star attraction is a tween, he's screwing her himself, and manipulating her besides. All of his scenes are hard to watch. But his career survived, because he's just that good.


semiconscious said...

just finished watching it, & that was fun :) ...

such a different world, afa getting your 15 minutes of fame. nowadays, one good video of yourself (or your child or cat) falling down a flight of stairs, & bang! - gone viral! back then, you basically had to do some kinda travis bickle...

i'd forgotten about albert brooks, & sybil shepherd (& scorsese!), but remebered jody foster, &, of course, harvey keitel (funny, i would've guessed 'mean streets' came after this movie, but, no, turns out it was 3 years before). absolutely great character actor. one of those people who elevates anything he appears in, no matter how minor a role:

Ben said...

Yeah it is fun, unexpectedly so.

In terms of getting your fifteen minutes, the world has indeed changed. But plus ça change. In terms of a hit of viral fame, you can get it pretty easy, but then you always want more. Travis seems to be learning that at the end of the movie.

Peter Boyle is worth remembering too. He doesn't go off like Travis Bickle does, but he's the guy you think might. And Jodie Foster, disturbingly adult with the comforting hindsight knowledge she'll go on to be a decent grown-up.

Yeah, here's to Harvey Keitel. Even though I knew that "Pretty please, with sugar on top, clean the fucking car" was coming up, it was still a delight. Also loved his scoutmaster general in Moonrise Kingdom.