Taxi Driver


40th Anniversary Screening

Double Feature with DOG EAT DOG

An ex-Marine enlists as a taxi driver in an attempt to curb his chronic insomnia. What he finds on the late night streets of New York City is worse than what he left in Vietnam.

I’m writing it down, Paul Schrader isn’t just one of our greatest living screenwriters he’s also a goddamn prophet.

TAXI DRIVER smashed senses upon release 40 years ago, however, it remains as potent and relevant today as it did in its post-Vietnam environment: As the nation’s divide only wedges further, the rage of Travis Bickle and the need to “wash all this scum off the streets” is alarmingly pertinent in the present, hate-fueled, Trumpian-world of bigotry and racial intolerance (the critical difference being that Bickle’s vigilante actions are rationalized – saving a teenage prostitute – while contemporaries are driven by fear).

It feels strange to say that one “loves” TAXI DRIVER but it’s also impossible not to. This is a film that is bleak, brutal, oppressive and downright nasty and yet therein lies its effectiveness and appeal: it is so direct and relentless in its nihilism, it delivers a purity that can only be respected and feared in equal measure – if TAXI DRIVER were a living creature it would be a great white that does nothing but kill and kill again.

Apply to the equation the perfect marriage of actor and director (both at the most critical junctures of their ascendence) who embraced the rawness and sleaze of their environment and you have the requirements of a truly revolutionary piece of cinema.

Of course, none of this happens without the words on the page. And what words they are. Schrader’s writing on TAXI DRIVER is untouchable – boiling with urgency and ferocity you wonder if he wrote it using barbed wire dipped in blood – and while there’s no question that De Niro puts it up on the screen as Scorsese orchestrates, it’s Schrader who gave them both life.

TAXI DRIVER has spawned an endless stream of imitations over the years but nothing has come close and the reality is that nothing will, until Paul Schrader writes it.

Christian Parkes

Special Thanks to Sony

Guests: Paul Schrader in Person

Director: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA
Runtime: 113 minutes
Year: 1976


“Like Werner Herzog’s Aguirre or Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver is auteurist psychodrama.” Village Voice