So is it trying to say that Travis' attempt to eliminate the scum showed that he was just as bad as them? It seemed like the majority of the film was just building Travis' hate of everybody else, showing how everybody was cold and distant, insane, or degenerate, when in the end his climactic showdown with the criminals was pretty much as cold hearted and violent as prostitution? The ending scene also makes it clear that his attempt to save Iris was as traumatizing as being a prostitute- Travis had told her that Sport called her names and was a bad guy, but in the end it was Travis that murdered three men in cold blood right in front of her.
i dont think it was saying that he WAS just as bad as them, more that it was making a point that if you want to 'wash the scum off the streets' you kind of have to get your hands dirty.
His last acts were anything but cold-hearted though. He was trying to do the right thing, and sacrificed his soul for it. Far more than any politician would be willing to do in that case, someone who would keep their hands clean at all costs.
The movie doesn't want you to see anything in black or white though, intentionally. Scorsese mentioned making him racist was part of this.
Cold-hearted wasn't the right way to say it, as that sort of implies that he didn't have good intentions. I think more than anything it shows how defending your own idea of what's right can result in violence and dirt- the very things it seemed Travis was adamantly against.
He wasn't exactly a saint from the start though, so he was doomed to always bring about violence and dirt. His downfall was from within as much as from without. He was as much a product of that environment as he was its self-appointed saviour.
New York in the 70's was a Detroit tier shithole, basically like in the movie "The Warriors". Travis was merely the personification of the average person's attitude at the time, that's also why movies like "Deathwish" became so popular
He was ahead of his time, New York didn't really start to get cleaned up until the 80's and 90's when the NYPD went full on police state
While these are all well and good, I don't think the philosophy of the plot is necessarily important. I don't think it's terribly relevant.
I think it was mostly a character study of Travis, and how such a disgusting, filthy set of surroundings can affect someone who already wasn't really in his right mind. It was about the broken, strange world he lives in. As in, his personal mental state. It could also serve as an inspection OF the surroundings.
If there was much further ethos there, it was about how strange "heroes" could be, an inspection of questionable people doing something questionable to good ends. That's always more how I read it.
And on that point, actually, I'd add that it presented violence very realistically. I think that was an intentional, strong point. I think it wanted to show how disgusting and terrifying real violence actually is, to go against his large ideals of what he was doing or the way society treated it at the time. I can say honestly it did it so well that I've only seen it one time, because it did it so damn well I never want to really see it again. So that's something.
It's not a modern thing to look for a theme. For ages master works have contained themes, and for ages people have attempted to look for them in art. Nothing's wrong or 'modern' about looking at a rather strange and rather hard to grasp film and trying to look for meaning, purpose, or theme.
>If there was much further ethos there, it was about how strange "heroes" could be, an inspection of questionable people doing something questionable to good ends. That's always more how I read it.
This is what stood out as well to me. It seemed that throughout the movie it was just building Travis up to be this really bizarre, scary, and mentally ill guy whose talk of cleansing New York progressively got more and more sinister sounding. Then, it finally happens in an incredibly violent, disgusting scene that's nothing short of sickening. And then the movie closes with Travis being viewed as a hero of sorts. It was actually kind of funny.
Exactly, Travis was mentally unstable and he wanted to do what he thought was right which was to take the law into his own hands.
"The idea had been growing in my brain for some time: TRUE force. All the king's men cannot put it back together again."
I really have a hard time seeing how Travis was meant to be portrayed as necessary and just. That final scene seemed to be put in a far too horrific light. Especially how Iris was shown going nuts about it all.
I like how Scorsese portrayed racism in the film.Travis is racist although he never says anything racist. He even drives blacks through bad neighborhoods and says "dont make no difference to me" But he does stare at black people blankly including a fellow taxi driver when they are at the diner.
Who says an agenda is or isn't there? I doubt a random person on the internet knows for sure whether Taxi Driver has a theme or not. Besides, attempting to get meaning out of something makes for more interesting discussion than just looking at it technically.
Whether or not there's a message or point, looking for one makes for interesting conversation. I'm not always going 'Hm, what is this film trying to say?' when I'm sitting down and watching a good fucking movie. But afterwards, it's always interesting to think about different ways to look at it.
That scene's probably the strangest in the entire movie for me. I can't tell if Travis is disgusted by everything that's happening or if the man's inspiring him to take matters into his own hands.
The most iconic scene in film history?
>hello, is it me you're looking for?
>I think it was mostly a character study of Travis, and how such a disgusting, filthy set of surroundings can affect someone who already wasn't really in his right mind. It was about the broken, strange world he lives in. As in, his personal mental state.
>his personal mental state.
His weakened mental state was apparent. I can't see how Travis can be interpreted as a hero as some suggest.
Serious question, how would have developed an argument between Travis and pic related? Would they just agree to raid some scum?
Travis is a one celled assassin. He is a military special forces trained killer. His initial target is Senator Palentine. He is under hypnosis. His handler is the black guy with the African dashiki shirt in the diner. Travis is under MK Ultra programming. He sees Iris (Jody Foster) who is also under MK Ultra programming called Monarch Programming and Travis becomes a broken arrow veeromg away Palentine and towards Iris's handlers. We are clued into Iris's programming by the Monarch butterfly art piece on the wall in back of Travis and Iris's table in the coffee shop. Monarch Programming is also referred to as Sex Kitten programming and is used to hypnotize (oh fuck it. . .look it up for yourself.) Iris's handler is played by Harvey Keitel. Travis's programming/hypnotic state is wearing off. The scene that depicts this is when he is watching American Band Stand and the Jackson Browne song "How Long Have I Been Sleeping" is playing on the show. Travis kicks over the tv and breaks it. . . .breaking his programming. I suggest everybody go back and watch this movie again. This time play real close attention to every single little detail and keep one finger on the pause button and another on the rewind.