The best thing about this film is how willing it is to travel deep into the scum of the human soul. A subject that many filmmakers refuse to touch. Its subject matter is remarkable and disturbing. It’s the study of obsession, paranoia, alienation, and desire. It’s super slow-paced, but one thing’s for sure: it sure is powerful.
The cinematography of this film is one of the greatest of all time. The way the camera moves, the way it portrays New York in an artsy yet pitiful way is truly remarkable.
The score in this film is unique and unforgettable. It’s dark, it’s brooding, yet it’s warm and comforting. Almost as if the score itself is saying “Yeah, New York sucks - but it’s home". The way it uses Jazz was relatively unheard of at the time, and not only that but the film itself brought in a new wave of dark, gritty, realistic films to the late 70’s and early 80’s.
The acting is impeccable from everybody involved in this film, a lot of that due to Scorsese’s amazing directing. However, the star (both figuratively and literally) is Robert De Niro. De Niro manages to paint a compelling portrait with his acting - Travis is misunderstood, socially awkward, and harsh, yet underneath all of that is a deep longing for approval, something we can all relate to for all of time. And that’s not even spoken, it’s shown, much without any dialogue at all. We’re able to know exactly what Travis is thinking and why he’s doing what he is doing, without the film ever having to clearly spell it out for us. THAT is great filmmaking.
I would not recommended this to people who are just looking for a fun entertaining movie. It’s extremely slow-paced, and I admit, I was bored at times. I would recommend this to fans of classic influential movies, people who enjoy films with a slow-burn that deeply study a character and an idea, and this is an absolute must-watch for any filmmaker.
“You talkin’ to me?”
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