Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Taxi Driver


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.

Just...UGH!

18 comments:

  1. I just watched it last month. Oh, that gory "head shot" by Robert de Niro! Very creepy but satisfying! Love it!

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    1. It's iconic for a reason! This is such an astonishing film. Glad you were able to see it.

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  2. Oh wow. What a great breakdown of the shot in the cab. Didn't pick up on that before, but next time I see it that will come jumping off the screen at me.

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    1. I've seen this film probably 10 times, and it was about viewing number 3 or 4 that I noticed that particular shot and though...DAMN!

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  3. I went with that first one, it really is perfect. Nice catch with the one you chose though.

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    1. It's an iconic image for a reason, so I'm glad you chose it (especially since it didn't dominate the way I assumed it would)

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  4. Fucking love this movie. It's my 2nd favorite Scorsese film behind Raging Bull. It's perfect.

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  5. i tend to think that it's everyone's "second favorite" so it's nice to hear favorite for once. It's my second favorite ;) love your choice

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    1. I really like Raging Bull and Goodfellas...they are great pieces of storytelling, but for me this is his finest moment not only as a director but as a storyteller.

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  6. This is a great film and my favourite scenes are the ones with him and Jodie Foster. One can view a film like this again and again and pick something new up every time

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    1. Very true. The depth of storytelling here is so strong, and manifests itself differently with each viewing.

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  7. Great write up and I love the passion. Taxi Driver is a very good movie and oddly it is one that took a while for me to really appreciate. Well, now I really appreciate it and there are so many things Marty is doing with the story, the characters, the camera. And it is a film with an iconic image that actually deserves its status. But the scene you show is just as brilliant for every reason you explain. Great work bro.

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    1. Thanks! Scorsese does so much with this story. It's a remarkable balancing act, and he pulls it off marvelously.

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  8. Brilliant shot choice! Definitely one of the best films ever made, and what a performance!

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    1. It gets better and better with each passing viewing.

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  9. GREAT shot from my favorite film. Taxi Driver actually does contain my favorite shot of all time: when the camera pans over then whips up to reveal Travis' new mohawk. That's the real Travis Bickle. In the flesh, ready to rage.

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    1. I love that this is your favorite film! It's certainly in my top 25. Such a brilliant film, and that shot is a great one indeed.

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