The film “Taxi Driver” by the talented director Martin Scorsese is imbued with the spirit and atmosphere of America in the 70s. The music specially written for the film and realistic footage of the city at night are organically woven into the plot and enhance the viewing experience.
The film not only keeps you in suspense and strikes with an unexpectedly bloody denouement, but also invites you to think about eternal questions: about the problems of the individual in society, about loneliness; about acceptable means in the struggle for healthy human relations.
The meaning of the movie “Taxi Driver”
The main character, twenty-six-year-old Travis, is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Suffering from a mental disorder. Has trouble sleeping and works as a taxi driver, exclusively at night. He doesn’t care “where to go and whom to take.” At first, he does not understand his purpose, there are no goals and aspirations. Since he lives alone, he trusts his personal diary. In general, the line of loneliness is elegantly worked out in the picture. Despite numerous scenes of communication between the protagonist and passengers, bystanders, colleagues, the viewer is not left with the reflection of sadness and emptiness in his eyes.
Watching every night what happens to society when “all sorts of scum creeps out at night: whores, pimps, thieves, blues, tramps, drug addicts. Sick and vicious,” Travis feels personally responsible for what is happening, but does not understand how he can change it. “I want to go out and do something that… I don’t know!” And yet, it is not as simple as it seems. Scenes in which the protagonist talks to himself in front of a mirror make the viewer feel the need to wait for something all the time.
Wanting to fill the void around him, Travis strikes up a relationship with a young woman named Betsy. She works on the staff of Senator Palantine, who is running for the presidency. Not having perverted inclinations, he brings the girl to a film that is too explicit. Betsy angrily leaves the cinema. And he doesn’t want to see Travis anymore. In a temper, Travis breaks into the beauty’s office and shows himself not from the best side. “He’s made of contradictions.” This is how Betsy described him.
In part, this is true. Travis showed not quite adequate and contradictory behavior. But throughout the film, the viewer is given to understand that he is much more adequate than those who have adapted well in society and have no psychological problems. In contrast to the main character, a man is shown who tracked down his wife and watched her from the windows of Travis’ taxi. He mockingly calmly told the dumbfounded taxi driver how he would kill his wife: with a shot in the face or between the legs. “Lovely sight! Do you think I’m crazy?” This question is addressed more to the viewer. So that he appreciates the act of a normal, socialized person. After all, the paradox is that in an extreme situation, a normal person can do something that will frighten even a mentally unhealthy person.
A key moment in the film is Travis’ meeting with Iris, a teenage prostitute who accidentally got into his cab. All the dirt, abomination and manure pit that the protagonist spoke about throughout the film was localized in this meeting. And it must be admitted that the attempt to dissuade the girl from prostitution and the money given to her to return home showed Travis from the best side. He showed the height of adequacy in a monologue of persuasion.
Perhaps the only controversial and incomprehensible act Travis committed when he attempted on Charles Palantine, whom he first sympathized with, and then decided to kill him. Fortunately, his plan failed. It’s hard to say what motivated Travis: the desire to deal with the next presidential candidate, who promises a lot, but changes nothing. Or ruin the career of Betsy, who rejected him.
The meaning of the final movie “Taxi Driver”
The resolution of the conflict, which is ripe for the finale, is quite appropriate. Travis knew perfectly well that no one would help Iris except him, but they would simply not allow her to leave. Without thinking about death, acquiring a weapon, he broke into the “temple of debauchery”, killed the pimps and clients and freed the girl. By doing this not for fame or glory, he became a real hero, albeit a wounded one.
Yes, Travis had his own little conflict. He is not a superman who saves the world. He is a simple worker. But the abominations that he regularly observed from the windows of his taxi did not allow him to sleep peacefully. “The day will come and the downpour will wash away all this carrion from the streets.” He decided to become this shower himself. At least to save one person who has fallen into a dirty addiction.
It is symbolic that as soon as De Niro’s hero recovered from his wounds, they wrote about him in the newspapers and he returned in a taxi, Betsy comes to him. But Travis had already found peace in his soul, so he showed indifference to the beauty.
The director does not hide his sympathy for the main character and leads the viewer to the idea that there are mentally healthy people who do crazy things. And there are mentally ill people who are able to make the world a little kinder and better. Of course it’s a movie. In life, everything is much more complicated and there is not always a happy ending. BUT! If each of us wants to change life or society for the better, we just need to start doing it. Otherwise, life will lose all meaning.