Saturday, June 25, 2016

Taxi Driver

Out of curiosity saw the movie Taxi Driver today. Not impressed.

There were some striking visuals - Sybil Shepherd looked breathtakingly beautiful in 1976 and the first shot of De Niro with a mohawk wearing sunglasses was cool. The gloomy-disturbing music was a plus.

But it was boring to follow an idiot around for two hours. I've seen De Niro interviewed on TV a few times and if there are any brains in his head, he hides it well. So I don't even know if there was much acting going on here on his part. I mean, he's unlikely to be violent, but the rest of it...

Scorsese is definitely smart, but most scenes here lasted too long and the whole thing just wasn't very interesting to me.

Instead of whatever it was that the filmmakers wanted me to think about I started noticing stuff like office furniture. I got my first full-time job in 1999 and for the first month I worked at the kind of ugly metallic desk that Sybil Shepherd and Albert Brooks use in this movie. But then we moved to a new office which had modern plastic-topped desks and cloth-bound cubicle walls. I think there was a general improvement in the look of offices around the turn of the millennium, with that particular type of ugliness gradually fading away.

The robbery in the bodega looked realistic from the ethno-cultural point of view, which made me question whether Scorsese has any liberal illusions about contemporary American society. I thought back on his other movies that I've seen - Raging Bull and Casino - and the possibility of him and his screenwriters understanding some bits of what's going on remained intact. It helps to be cynical to get that right. Which reminds me that the ending of this movie is likely a drop-your-hands-in-resignation type joke about the randomness and unfairness of life.

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