Black Elements in Taxi Driver

Essay by vivienne_cao December 2004

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Black Elements in Taxi Driver

"The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence."

--Thomas Wolfe, "God's Lonely Man"

"Loneliness has followed me all my life. The life of loneliness pursues me wherever I go: in bars, cars, coffee shops, theaters, stores, sidewalks. There is no escape. I am god's lonely man."(Travis Bickle, "Taxi Driver") These sad words keep echoing in my mind every time I finish watching this film. I am not sure whether it is exactly these words that make the film so classic that it did not only touch the heart of the American people in the 1970s' but also moved me, a Chinese girl in 2000s' again and again even after watching it for several times. Maybe he takes the words out of most people's mouths.

Maybe "loneliness" is also a permanent theme of people's life.

Mysterious and enchanting music, together with a pair of dark eyes, which reflect the blurred night view of the New York city, the film begins in such a ghostlike atmosphere that catches the hearts of all the audience. Thus the tone of the film has been settled--the dark and even melancholy beginning has already suggested to the audience that the story won't be a light one.

Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976) was classified as a "neo--noir", which revives the themes of classic noir--"the post-war ambience of anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion"(An Introduction to Film Noir)①Actually, this film does deserve the title of a classic in the world of film noir since it not only contains a lot of black elements but also conveys very profound thoughts and practical significance through its exquisite pictures, splendid music and the consummate...