I like to categorise myself as one of those people who came to know Martin Scorcese through the film, The Departed. Till then, he was always one of the great Italians of Hollywood - like Francis Ford Coppola. Once I saw The Departed, I was impressed and energised and wanted to find out more about his movies. On reading up on Martin Scorcese, I realised I had seen some more of his movies - Casino, Gangs of New York and The Aviator. I also read that he had directed a movie called Raging Bull, supposed to be his greatest movie. I totally enjoyed that one and was very impressed by Robert De Niros portrayal of a boxer who reaches the top but complicates his life due to his temper and jealousy. It also carried the same style of aggression, sudden violence and yet a slickness that kept you gripped throughout. I made a promise that I would watch all his other movies and then completely forgot about it till I watched Taxi Driver.
Before you go any further, do play this video. It is the theme score of the movie and it is perfect for the movie. The character played by Robert De Niro is that of an ex-Vietnam soldier who comes back to New York and finds work as a taxi driver. He seems to be doing well and keeping himself busy, except that he just cannot sleep. He also falls for "Betsy" - played by Cybill Shepherd who looks really hot- who first agrees to go out with him but later rebuffs him. After this his life goes downhill and he starts losing touch with reality. He also meets Jodie Foster who is a young prostitute and tries to save her from all the other "scum" of New York.
The movie builds up nicely to the climax and makes you feel sorry for Robert De Niros character while wondering what the hell is up to and why cant he just get a grip? The areas where he ferries his fares are among the seedier parts of town, full of prostitutes and pimps and they seem to pull him down further. I loved the way his decline seems so inexorable that he just has do something really reckless and violent. All the while, the saxophone from the theme song is playing in the background and gives a very haunting feel. Also, the movie will always be remembered because of John Hinckley Jr, the guy who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan did so after he watched the movie continuously and became obsessed with Jodie Foster. Now if that doesn't make you want to watch the movie, what will??