Festival de Cannes 70: Taxi Driver, 1976

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

Back in college, a friend of mine, a huge Martin Scorsese nut by the way, said of Travis Bickle’s outburst at the end of Taxi Driver: that he did the wrong thing, but for the right reasons. An interesting paradox, but he was pretty much right on the money. I think many of us subconsciously relate to the frightening notion in Taxi Driver that you can just snap and lose your shit. Not quite in that manner perhaps, but the personal resonance the movie has can not be denied. Somehow hailed as a kind of hero at the end of the film, Travis shakes this off, still misunderstood after all this time. Another captivating paradox. Accompanying the monumental Robert De Niro for a good part of Travis’ somewhat sad, longing journey through isolation, is Bernard Herrmann’s final score. Both piercing and soothing, the music lingers for a long time, years, afterwards. You can hear it now, right? What also lasts for me, even forty years since it’s release, is whether Taxi Driver is actually Scorsese’s greatest film achievement. I have never completely decided, but have often thought that it is.


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