This week for my E-commerce class I just did a small review/write-up on an article I read about the differences between mobile and
The underlying theme of the movie Taxi Driver seems to be of loneliness and existentialism. The movie centers around the world of Travis Bickle. Each scenario that occurs is really a reflection of how he seems to be portraying the world. We see this imaginary dark shadow cast over his world where everyone is an enemy in his eyes and Travis becomes separated from everyone else. He is constantly just searching for and finds ugliness. It is also interesting to understand that Travis negative perception isn’t just on those who live in lower-income neighborhoods, but can come from those even high up. Possibly because they haven’t really done much to fix the world. As Nezar AlSayyad mentions in Cinematic Urbanism: A History of the Modern from Reel to Reel, New York is great place to focus on because it is so densely packed, and it become pertinent to “understand the city not only through class categories but also through exercised of performativity, which is often class and gender based.”
When we consider Travis’s relationship with women, we can really see his distance from the world. This is especially evident when we consider his relationship with Betsy. Travis is the type where he could be in the presence of other people and interact with other people, but because of his mindset and his demeanor, he is still alone. However, the few times Travis has become infatuated with women seems to be the only time that he had broken out of this shield he has created for himself. It is the only time he interacts with a person where he doesn’t still seem like he has completely blocked them out. Betsy was one person he had considered to really be pure. He passes by these neighborhoods with so many different corrupt personalities every day. But the first time he sees her, she is perfection. However, once they begin going on dates, Betsy comes to realize who Travis is and rejects him. At this point, Travis in anger and possibly embarrassment now claims that he realizes that she has all along really been “just one of them”. Another enemy Travis desires to have the city wiped clean of. He had tried so hard to fit in but struggles so much because of his constant view that it is always going to be him versus them.
This world Travis travels in is dark, but that doesn’t mean there is no positivity in this world. He has just chosen to ignore it. Again looking at Betsy’s circumstances. She is working on a political campaign and here we see a setting that is a little lighter hearted. Yet every time we turn to Travis’s view all we see is that sense of loneliness and negativity. This is because Travis often won’t allow himself to open his mind to a different way of viewing things. He often puts himself in these situations that are negative when he doesn’t necessarily have to be there. He does have a choice not to be in such corrupt places. For instance, he mentions that most taxi cab drivers won’t stop for certain people because of their race or how they look. Sometimes if a person is going into a bad neighborhood they will often refuse service. But opposite of them, we have Travis who will go with anyone anywhere. Constantly chasing after bad situations. Because of this, he is often forcing himself to see the same things over and over again. So, it makes sense why he would be so negative about the world. If one was exposed to so many negative scenarios such as fights, rapes, hookers, and pimps, eventually that’s all they will see and they become bound to their negative perception. The director was able to capture this darkness beautifully during his night time shots of Travis driving around on his night shifts. Often the streets seem to only be lit by either neon lights or red. This kind of lighting portrays that the world could have is positive aspects, but the movie’s sole focus is on the darkness.
Because this movie comes from Travis’s perspective, he can’t really see that this point of view of his is really only one sided. When he first comes to ask Betsy out on a date, he points at her work and mentions her eyes and says that he can tell that she is miserable and lonely. He also says that he would like to help her. Again when he meets Iris, a hooker, all he sees is loneliness and tells her this is no place for you to be here even though Iris mentions that she is pretty content with her work. When he puts himself out to save these women from their loneliness and misery, he is often bitten right back for doing so. But he also doesn’t mention or sees at all that it is himself that is lonely and miserable as opposed to the other way around.
Considering how grand the situation is that Travis put himself into with him getting in gun fights in order to clean out the city. The events and emotions that put him there aren’t really all that far out there from our own reach. His isolation, self-hatred, desire to belong/be included are all relatable emotions that we as humans have to face every day. Most people we see every day are just trying to fit in and get along with the relationships we make. We try our best to adapt, cope, or deal with the cards we are dealt with in life. Depending on how readily we are able to recognize our emotions and use them to determine our behaviors is what impacts the outcome we find ourselves in. The film portrays what can happen and what we have the ability to do if our emotions are pushed far enough.
 AlSayyad, Nezar. Cinematic urbanism: a history of the modern from reel to real. New York: Routledge, 2009.