Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) is one of the greatest American tales of human psychology, matched only by the likes of ‘One flew over cuckoo’s nest’. It speaks the alienation of a common man from the ultra urban society and his voluntary involvement to rebel against the underworld. Scorsese is definitely the greatest scene composers alive and a scene from this film is something I can never get my mind off.
Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is fed up by everything that is going on around. He decides to end it all and purchases a few guns. He prepares a setup on his robe so that holstering of the weapon is easier. He stands in front of a mirror and tests the setup and enters a monologue. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean!
Scorsese uses the power of the mirror once again to carve out his character. The editing cannot get better than this. Please notice when the scene suddenly stops and repeats itself, it is not to imply that Travis is repeating himself for practice, but that each time he erases what came before. Practice, by definition, involves improving on each additional effort, but Travis acts as if the previous attempts never happened! This editing technique of repetition and replacement gives us a glimpse into Travis’s quickly plummeting mental state!