‘Taxi Driver’ gets right inside a psycho’s head

Rating: NNNNNTAXI DRIVER (Martin Scorsese, 1976) is the crucible of American macho cool. It's a portrait of alienation so seductive.

Rating: NNNNN

TAXI DRIVER (Martin Scorsese, 1976) is the crucible of American macho cool. It’s a portrait of alienation so seductive that it can make nearly any viewer want to re-feel some part of the soul of a psychotic. You talkin’ to me? Scorsese, Robert De Niro and writer Paul Schrader were all working at the top of their powers here, creating a Vietnam-era version of the Inferno. Even Jodie Foster’s turn as a teenage hooker still stands as one of her best performances. But the reason Taxi Driver works so well goes beyond the sum of its parts. This movie is a triumph of mood. A chain reaction connects Schrader’s gutter-formal words to Scorsese’s images to the depressive tone in De Niro’s voice-over to the romance noir in Bernard Hermann’s score. Then the whole thing leaps to become one of those very rare cases when a studio movie takes you deep inside a character’s head. Taxi Driver thrills with its seedy violence, but it endures on the strength of its psychological force. NNNNN (May 17, Royal)

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