I have to admit that this is my first full viewing of this classic flick. I’ve seen it many times in bits and pieces back when I had cable. But recently I got my hands on the limited edition digipack blu-ray version, so I knew it was finally time to watch the full grandiose version, the way Martin Scorcese would want it. This may be one of the few reviews where I talk about how the picture looks as well as the flick itself. If you want more of that, or reviews of the special features and the overall packages, let me know. Let me tell you, this version of the flick looks amazing. I can only imagine what a 4K transfer might look like. This is cinematic. That’s probably the best way I can describe it. Sure it’s not crystal clear, but it’s from 1976 and it still looks amazing. I have yet to dive into the special features, but I might either add on to this later or make a separate post.
Now for the flick itself. It’s an amazing time capsule look at New York in 1976. From the streets, to the clothing, to the music to the seedier districts full of skin flick theaters and hookers. Martin captures it perfectly. You feel like you’re back in 1976. I was born in December of that year, so it’s really fun for me. Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is one of cinema’s most interesting characters. He’s completely engaging and fascinating from the first time you see him. He appears to have insomnia so he takes a job as a taxi driver working the night shift. He gets sent to the worst parts of New York. He drives men with prostitutes and at one point his passenger is a man who’s talking about killing his cheating wife. Travis takes it all in stride at first. He soon begins to be disgusted by everything he sees. Even the smell makes him sick. The only person he confides in at first is his fellow cabbies, lead by the “Wizard” (Peter Boyle). At one point a young prostitute (we’re told at one point she’s 12.5 years old) Easy (Jodie Foster) gets in and begs to be taken away. Her pimp Rain (Harvey Keitel) quickly grabs her and takes her away and throws a $20 at Travis.
Travis sees Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) in the campaign office for Charles Palatine (Leonard Harris) who’s running for president. He becomes enamored with her. At first he just sits outside the office and stares at her, which causes her co-worker Tom (Albert Brooks) to run him off. Eventually he gets the nerve to talk to her where he tells her she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. He takes her for coffee where she calls him a walking contradiction. This seems to upset him some. She tells him it’s from a Kris Kristofferson song. He buys her a record hoping to impress her with it. Unfortunately he tells her he’s taking her to a movie, which he does, except it’s an adult movie. She gets upset and storms out. He doesn’t understand because he goes there all the time after driving all night. After sending her flowers and calling her several times he confronts her and is thrown out by Tom after becoming irate.
Travis then takes a tip from a fellow cabbie and purchases several handguns. He begins a strict diet and practices shooting. He also bought holsters and practices drawing his guns. He even creates a device to have a gun pop out of his sleeve. He first uses his new guns while witnessing a robbery at a convenience store. He fatally shoots the robber then runs, with the owner taking credit for the kill, since his guns are not registered. Next he visits Rain and takes Easy to a motel where he finds out her real name is Iris and tries to talk her out of being a prostitute. It doesn’t work but she agrees to meet him for breakfast.
Slowly he’s losing his grip. He shaves his head into a mohawk and heads to the rally hoping to kill Palantine but is thwarted by secret service, causing him to run away. He then goes to find Iris. He shoots Rain and goes inside the motel where he shoots the bouncer. He’s then shot by Rain. He finishes Rain off then kills a mafiosa who was in the room with Iris. Iris cries as Travis tries to kill himself but is out of bullets. He points his bloody hand at his head and mimics a gun as the police show up. We then find out that he lives as we hear a letter from Iris’ father being read. Iris returned home and is back in school. Travis is still a cabbie and is considered a hero. He picks up Betsy one night while working and drives her home. As she goes to give him money he turns the meter off. He’s still angry so who knows what he’s gonna do next.
This is such a great flick. Like I said it looks amazing and I’d highly recommend it. I give it 5 out of 5 for sure. Robert De Niro is perfect as Travis. Have you seen this? What’s your take on it? I’ll add the extras later.
Later, late night travelers!
Are you talking to me?