Taxi Driver [Blu-Ray] Martin Scorsese

Taxi Driver [Blu-Ray] Martin Scorsese
At this point, what can you even say about Tax Driver? It's the kind of movie that demands to be described with terms like "classic" or "masterpiece." Drunks can quote it for giggles or pub quizzes and film professors can quote it for classes or quizzes (pub or academic, their choice). If you love movies, it's impossible not to love Taxi Driver. In the 35 years since the movie first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (where it claimed the top prize), the film has lost none of its power or potency. Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader and Robert DeNiro's vision of a depressed, psychotic loner in a filthy, hellish NYC is still shocking and vital filmmaking. No one has topped it. No one dares try. This is quite simply one of the best movies ever made and it still stings that Rocky somehow beat it for the Oscar. The story is well known: DeNiro plays a depressed Vietnam vet named Travis Bickle, who takes a job as a cabbie to avoid sleeping at night. Isolation, depression, alcohol and insomnia soon take over his mind and send him spiralling into psychosis. It starts when he flubs a date with Cybil Sheppard by taking her to a porno theatre and peaks with a failed political assassination and a multi-pimp-killing bloodbath to save a teenage prostitute. In other words, it's a family picture. Schrader's deeply personal writing and DeNiro's unrivalled commitment to character bring Travis Bickle vividly to life. Had the movie been made by once-attached director Brian DePalma with the same team it would still have been a classic. What makes it one of the greatest films ever made is Scorsese's incredible ability to use all the subjective filmmaking techniques at his disposal to put the audience in the mind of Travis Bickle. What starts as identifiable depression transitions into murderous psychosis so gradually and carefully that the audience finds itself unnervingly siding with a psychopath. It's a brilliant technique that few movies have equalled. Anyone claiming that Shutter Island is Scorsese's first horror movie hasn't looked closely enough at Taxi Driver; his expressive, creeping cameras, tense suspense sequences and lavish explosions of violence spring right from the genre. The movie is too complex and respected to ever find itself regulated to the horror rack at video stores, but that wouldn't be inappropriate. Sony's new Blu-Ray transfer is simply amazing. The movie is a grainy product of '70s location shooting and that grain remains respectfully intact. However, the detail and the vibrancy of the colours in Scorsese's expertly crafted frames have never been this impressive (a theatre marquee showing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the background of one shot is an amusing movie reference that probably hasn't been visible for years). The special features are imported from previous DVD editions, but they're excellent. A wealth of commentaries and documentaries provide everything you'll want to know about the movie. One notable inclusion is a vintage Scorsese/Schrader audio commentary from the film's Criterion laserdisc version. Unavailable for years, Scorsese speaks about Taxi Driver, after having just completed Goodfellas, with a motor-mouthed enthusiasm and fresh memories that you just don't get with the same intensity from old man Scorsese. If you collect Blu-Rays, this bad boy has to be in your collection. (Sony)