I know I'm late, but since it was Martin Scorsese's birthday, I want to talk about my favourite film of his. Not exactly an uncommon choice, Taxi Driver (1976) struck a chord with its audience immediately upon release. It's fascinating to deliberate on that alone, since this is not exactly the portrait of an idealized heroic archetype. Travis Bickle is probably the most morally self-contradictory character ever to be portrayed in such a realistic and believable manner in a film, at least at the time. I've been trying to articulate why this film is such a cinematic touchstone for a while now and it's occured to me that there aren't any conspicuous elements of it that elevate it technically or conceptually above other classics throughout film history. However, I realised soon that something that utterly distinguishes Taxi Driver from most films is the way the character is powerfully, and purposefully complemented by the cinematography, editing and sound design. Several shots in this film cleverly and subtly break conventional rules of filmmaking to shift emphasis. The camera might neglect its character by tracking away from him to an empty corridor, emphasising the unbearable sense of vulnerability and self-worthlessness he may be experiencing in a certain scene. It may zoom in on a bubbling drink while having the sound of the drink drown out the diegetic ambient sound to convey loneliness, and a quietly pulsating sense of rage building up within the character. Sometimes the shot composition will centralise an unusual aspect of the frame, such as a seemingly unimportant fight or conflict in the backdrop, so that our own vantage point of the world is always as slanted as Travis's own. Even the gorgeous soundtrack is this semi-romantic, semi-demented New York jazz piece that masterfully illustrates just how paradoxical Travis is. Every scene in this film pretty much confines itself to this character's frame of mind, purveying an unforgettable sense of utter isolation and impending, doomsday-esque dread.