Martin Scorsese put all the city dweller's irrational, guilty fears into this 1976 story of a New York taxi driver (Robert De Niro) on a one-man rampage against the “scum”—pimps, whores, muggers, junkies, and politicians. Scorsese's style is a delirious, full-color successor to expressionism, in which the cityscape becomes the twisted projection of the protagonist's mind. Paul Schrader's screenplay, with its buried themes of sin and redemption, borrows heavily from Robert Bresson's Pickpocket, yet the purloined material is transformed in startling, disturbing ways. It would be hard to imagine an American film more squarely in the European “art” tradition than this, yet it was misunderstood enough to become a significant popular success—a thinking man's Death Wish. With Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, and Harvey Keitel.
Director Martin Scorcese. 113 mins, Rated R.
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