TAXI DRIVER: An appreciation for God‘s LonelyMan
This is a question for my blogger friends. Why do you write a blog? What is that drives you to put words onto the brightness of your computer screen? I know why I do it. I do it because I want to feel as if I am a part of something that is bigger than me. I admit that I get a little rush when I read a favorable comment or when someone likes a review I’ve written. I feel good when I check my page view count for the day and I’ve had a few hundred visitors. That means that all the times that I have sat alone in a dark room watching movie after movie has not been in vain. When I sit at my computer racking my brain for the right words to say I know that someone, somewhere will read what I have written and will appreciate it in some way or another. I am alone as I sit and type, but I am not lonely.
In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle is always alone. Even in scenes where he is surrounded by other people, he is ultimately and painfully alone. In the scene in the diner with his co-workers he is off to one side of the table, slightly separate from the rest. Again, in the diner, this time with Iris, the young prostitute that he feels a need to save, he is still alone. Why? Because his ideas, his way of thinking is so out of tune with hers that they are two people on separate sides of a desert island; always knowing that the other exists, but never making that connection.
The saddest and most heart wrenching scene in the film comes when Travis, after taking Betsy to a pornographic movie on their first date together, is on the phone in a lonely hallway pleading with her to give him another chance. As we listen the camera pans away from him. We don’t know whether to console him or put him down like a dog to ease his misery. Travis is so far out of touch with the rest of the world. He is never alone, yet he is lonely; and he is alone and he is lonely. By its own design, the job of a taxi driver is one of the loneliest jobs on the planet. A cabbie is continually in a situation where he is with people and yet they are all rank strangers to him. For the brief time that they are in his cab, they are a part of Travis’ world, but at no point in time is he ever a part of theirs. Travis Bickle truly is God’s Lonely Man.
Again, I will ask you; why do you do what you do?
- When did I become a Taxi Driver? (motherhoodmania.wordpress.com)
- 2 arrested in 2010 shooting death of Cobb taxi driver (ajc.com)
- Script To Screen: “Taxi Driver” (gointothestory.blcklst.com)
- Mean Streets: The Landscape of New York in Taxi Driver (kubrickontheguillotine.com)
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS-United States-1991
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Screenplay by Ted Tally
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris
I wonder if Thomas Harris knew just what a powder-keg of a book he had written. Did Jonathan Demme have any idea he was directing what would be the biggest movie of his career? What about Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins; did they have any suspicion that they were starring in a masterpiece? Did any of them realize they were a part of the greatest serial killer film of all time? If they didn’t know it then I guarantee you they know it now.
There is not a single weak performance in this film. The four main stars; Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn and Ted Levine knock their performances out of the ballpark. Foster reminds us that her Oscar win for The Accused was no fluke. Her turn as Clarice Starling is the type of role that other actresses would kill for and Foster performs it as if she stepped right into Starling’s skin.
Scott Glenn is one of the most underrated actors in the cinema. He plays FBI agent Jack Crawford with a mixture of authority and fatherly concern for Agent Starling. He is as proud of her as if she were his own flesh and blood. As Jame ‘Buffalo Bill’ Gumb, Ted Levine plays the most bizarre of serial killers. His ability to hold his own in a film with Hopkins and Foster is a testament to his ability as an actor.
I find myself at a loss for words as I seek out what I want to say about Anthony Hopkins and his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter. One particular scene that stands out in my mind is when Starling meets Lecter for the first time. Lecter is standing quietly in the middle of his cell like a tiger poised to strike. It is in that moment that Hopkins lets us know that Hannibal Lecter is a man of grace, intelligence and sophisticated evil. It is no wonder that the American Film Institute voted him the Number One screen villain of the past 100 years. Incidentally AFI voted Clarice Starling as the Number Six greatest screen hero.
The Silence of the Lambs is a haunting work of art truly deserving of each and every accolade that has been bestowed upon it in the past 20 years. I have watched it dozens of times and will watch it dozens more. That, my friends, is the true sign of a great movie.
Anthony Hopkins described his voice for Hannibal Lecter as, “a combination of Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn.”