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Taxi Driver

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1005 words)
Categories: Tax
Downloads: 28
Views: 1

Taxi Driver is a film about a war veteran who comes to find himself driving a cab in New York City because he is unable to sleep. While driving, he becomes infatuated with this lady Betsy who works for a Campaign office. After taking her on a date to a porno theatre she ends her relationship with him for the inappropriate date. After this his anger increases and he comes to the realization that all women are cold and heartless.

This directly affects his view on the city as he grows more and more disgusted with the filth and scum of the city and believes that he can clean it up. Taxi Driver employs a number of different elements in which assist and contributes to the narration as well as the theme of the movie. This paper will discuss how the cinematographic elements in Taxi Driver greatly enhance the overall affect of the movie and how it adds to the narrative elements to create a world in which this story could take place.

Cinematography is “not only what is filmed, but also how it is filmed”1 and there are three elements to this; “the photographic aspects of the shot, the framing of the shot, and the duration of the shot”2. The photographic aspect consists of the technical features of each shot, such as the filters, speed of motion, the types of lenses and the focal lengths, and the depth of field3. This film employs many of these methods to make the images more exciting and relevant to the theme of the movie.

A filter is “slices of glass or gelatine put in front of the lens of the camera or printer to reduce certain frequencies of light”4. Taxi Driver uses a number of different filters to enhance the theme of the movie such as in the final killing spree shots where Travis (the main character) is climbing the stairs while shooting and killing the Pimps. This part of the film looks similar to battlefield footage with a blue or grey haze to the shot. He views this as a battle between the scum of New York City and himself. This enhances the theme because it helps create this world where he believes that he will be able to save this girl Iris from prostitution.

Additionally, the opening scene of the movie was a yellow filter used which makes everything appear to have a yellowy-brown smog coloured tint to it. Everything that appears on screen during these shots looks dirty and helps create the world in which we are supposed to believe we are in. Another filter that they use is a blue one to make the scenes appear as though they were shot at night for example when Travis is returning his taxi to the headquarters he drives through a fire hydrant which is spraying water on to the road. This is done to allow enough light. This scene is also significant because he is talking about cleaning the scum off the streets as his car passes through the water but he himself does not get wet. After cleaning out his car he goes to a porno theatre to watch dirty movies which builds on the theme of his hypocrisy throughout the movie.

Speed of motion is that rate (frames per second) at which the film was shot5. To speed up the movie you decrease the rate for frames. To speed the movie up you increase the frames per second. Taxi drive uses this effect to highlight some of the characters qualities. For example when we first meet Betsy she is wearing a white dress and the scene is in slow motion as he describes how perfect she is. Another example of this is when he is first going to the taxi company to get a job he is looking out the window and all the scum of the city are out peddling their wears as he drives by. This is significant because Travis is taking the world in around him absorbing every detail. The slow motion significantly adds to the effect of being surrounded by this world.

The type of lens and focal lengths can dramatically change what you are able to see in a picture. This is valuable in this movie because many times it is used to show his world being surrounded by the filth of everything around him. An example of this is near the end of the movie when Travis has shaved his head into a Mohawk and is standing at a rally for Senator Palintine. There is a close up of Travis but then it movies back to reveal how he no longs fits into the crowd of people.

He is distant from the rest of the people. Another example of focal length is the use of a telephoto lens in many scenes where we hear people talking however the focus is really not on them but on others in the background. This is done many times when Betsy is involved in the conversation. It adds to the theme of the movie because Travis solely focuses on her throughout the movie and becomes obsessed as he drives by her office just to catch a glimpse.

Depth of field is “the range of distances before the lens within which objects can be photographed in sharp focus”6. This element of film added a great amount of variety to the shots that were chosen. An example of this is when Travis kills the robber in the store. His taxi is in the centre of the shot in the background while he, the store owner and the dead body are at the front of the shot. Another example of this is when the camera pans from Travis’s conversation with Betsy after the bad date to the long hallway with his cab at the end. This shot adds to the narrative by showing that the only thing that Travis has in his life is his taxi driving which is reiterated by his nick name.

Cite this essay

Taxi Driver. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/taxi-driver-13761-new-essay

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