Siobhan Kennedy-Clarke’s classic film reviews
Our fictitious reviewer Siobhan (KayCee) didn't have much of an education but she's passionate about films
If I was thinking up an idea for a film, I would want it to have a snappy title. After all that is what your potential customers see or hear first and if it dosen’t sound interesting you’ve got to have a second go at getting their attention. Imagine you’re a schoolteacher and you’ve told the kids to come up with a film you’d be going “yes Jordan very nice but you can’t just call it that cos it doesn’t sound exciting enough.”
That didn’t seem to bother Martin Scorsese or the writer Paul Schrader with Taxi Driver and it didn’t do the film any harm either although I suppose we will never know really will we.
It stars Robert de Niro when he was quite young and its funny he doesn’t look right as a young man its like he was born to be middle aged he’s got that quirky look and was never the heartthrob type but maybe that is a good thing because his character Travis Bickle is strange with a capital STR. He’s a Vietnam veteran used to be in the Marines and he can’t sleep maybe traumatized or something anyway so he wants a job he can do all night and when he goes for the interview he gets it mainly because the boss was in the Marines too and he says he’s not scared he will go anywhere any time. New York was pretty rough at that time and I guess there were some drivers that refused to go to some areas.
Anyways the job suits him and he’s doing well at it but he’s still lonely and he meets this girl Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) who is part of the campaign team for a politician she’s much more whats the word sophisticated than him but he don’t care or maybe see it he takes her to see a movie but its at a dirty little cinema where he’s used to going and it’s a dirty film and she freaks out and leaves and that looks like the end of it but he don’t give up he takes her for a coffee and a piece of pie and he gives her a Kris Kristofferson record but she’s got it already he’s trying his best but its never going to work even in a film.
Then the violence comes to the surface maybe repressed from his army days or whatever but he is disgusted by the way the city is and the drugs and prostitution so he buys a load of guns and makes this sort of sliding thing up his sleeve so he can keep a pistol up there and whip it out and surprise people. He wants to kill Senator Palantine the guy Betsy’s working for. First he walks into a store where a robbery is going on and he shoots the robber and you wonder if he’s going to be a good bad boy but he gets weirder and weirder and gets his hair shaved down the sides into a Mohican or Mohawk whatever you call it bad idea cos now he looks like a troublemaker.
The Secret Service guys suspect he’s up to no good and chase him but he gets away.
He has met this teenage prostitute Iris played by Jodi Foster and he don’t want to do nothing with her he wants to stop her doing what she’s doing her pimp is Harvey Keitel whose always brilliant I reckon. But Travis goes and finds the pimp and there is a big gunfight everybody gets shot including Travis but he survives. There’s a kind of happy ending because Iris goes home to live a normal life but we don’t know what’s gonna happen to Travis and they leave it that way you couldn’t have this sort of film ending up all neat and tidy.