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How does “Taxi Driver” Essay

“Taxi driver” subvert the classical Hollywood genre due to its ending. In a classical Hollywood genre, the story is supposed to end with a resolution, but in this film we do not learn the true ending, because the one we do see is quite obscure and unexpected; Betsy in the back of Travis’ cab. There are many signs that this ending may be a figment of Travis’ imagination such as the way we are never shown Betsy actually sitting in the back of the cab, we only see her through Travis’ rear view mirror. This could suggest that the ending is more what Travis wanted to happen, not what actually happened.

The film goes against classical Hollywood genre by its use of hybrid genre. Throughout the film we get scenes that make reference to film noir and thriller genres, but towards the end it mainly goes towards western, as Travis prepares for battle to the confrontation scene. This goes against the classical Hollywood genre as films usually only have one or two genres at the most, but this film even shows some comedic qualities at times. “Taxi driver” subverts the use of classical Hollywood narrative by its use of a circular narrative. We begin and end with Travis in his taxi, driving around looking for fares.

This suggests to the audience that what he had to do has been done, and he is getting back to normal, but is he as unstable as ever? Throughout the film Travis has referred to the population of New York as “the scum of the earth”, but now he is behaving just like them, does this make him “the scum of the earth” also? “Taxi driver” should go along with the classical Hollywood narrative through the romance plot between Betsy and Travis at the end of the film, but the scene is awkward, and it reminds the audience of the reasons he began his plot to kill Palantine, and Sport and his gang.

It also never shows the two of them together, only them looking at each other through the rear view mirror. This suggest to the audience that they can never be together, even now. Th film goes against the classical Hollywood narrative through Travis’ re-assimilation. Travis, who essentially can be classed as a villain through his actions of killing numerous people and plotting to kill even more, is represented to the population of New York as a “hero taxi driver” and how he battled the “mafia”. This makes the audience wonder just how good Travis’ actions were.

The film is based on the life of Arthur Bremer, a man who was a taxi driver and plotted to assassinate George Wallace, but the plan fell through and he was arrested. Bremer’s thoughts, desires and plans are echoed throughout the film, especially through the use of Travis’ diary and the narrative he uses to read it to the audience. The film subvert classical Hollywood narrative through this, as quite often a disclaimer tells the audience that no events are related to any person living or dead, but this can clearly be related in a number of places to Bremer’s plans and actions.


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