BFI Classics: Taxi Driver

Author: Amy Taubin

There can’t be too much more to be said about Taxi Driver, one of Martin Scorsese’s era-defining filmic team-ups with Robert De Niro. On the other hand, it would have been a glaring omission from the BFI Classics series.

Amy Taubin catches this hot potato with aplomb, and while her appraisal of the film brings little in the way of new insight it’s at least thoughtfully constructed and intelligently written. All the major issues and themes are here: gender politics, religion, sex, politics, mental breakdown, urban decay, threatened masculinity, racism – you name it. This noxious soup is still on the boil, so it’s little wonder that Taxi Driver continues to be as discomfiting a watch now as it was almost 35 years ago.

Scorsese completists may not be bowled over by Taubin’s contribution to the wealth of critical discourse around Taxi Driver, but fans of the movie itself (or fans of American 1970s cinema in general) are likely to find this both a useful and thought-provoking companion piece.

Clare Moody

Share this!