It's that time of the week again, for us to play along with Nathaniel's Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and this week is all about TAXI DRIVER! I fucking LOVE this movie. Yes, it's Scorsese's best film, but more than that, it's De Niro's finest performance (period) and...MORE THAN THAT, it's one of the best films and best performances ever gifted to the world.
I'm not joking. I am truly this hyperbolic about things I believe in.
So, when selecting my Best Shot for this week, I knew instantly what I wanted to chose. This is somewhat two-part, to be honest, because my favorite shot is really my favorite because of it's association (or premonition) with another more iconic shot. So, we'll look at this in reverse. First, you all know the most iconic image to come from Taxi Driver:
UGH. Like, it's a perfect shot in so many ways. The framing, the scene, the way that the moment builds and the way that this moment forever lodges Bickle into our cinematic memory. It's an unshakable shot. As much as I love this shot, upon multiple viewings there is a shot that precedes it (by quite a large margin) that strikes me all the more so because of this shot.
Long before Travis's fate is sewn up, it's almost as if his fate is already predestined. Notice they way that the stop light (a symbolic element all it's own) projects a red splotch on his left temple, the same temple that he so iconically presses his bloody finger to before his end. The contemplative look in his eyes, the way that he seems to be heading toward an end he isn't fully aware of and the way that the red light almost signifies a need for him to stop what he's doing before he does it, but those wheels are already in motion, the end is nigh and he is doomed.