Mood board & themes I like… The themes I want to explore for my project are similar to the ones that you can see on my mood board to the left. I like the idea of only using a few primary colours that contrast one another and which create a interesting visual effect (e.g. Sin City). I have made my mood board from mainly movies that I am interested in due to their unique styles. For my title sequence itself I am hoping to create a similar style sequence to that seen in the opening to Rocknrolla, where still images are slightly animated to show scenes from within the story, yet not giving any of the real plot of the film away.
Taxi DriverThere are several themes that run throughout the taxi driver theme, here are a few that I could interpret from watching themovie.- There are themes based upon the Italian American gang culture that was rift within New York around the time the film is set (e.g. The taxi firm that Travis works for is a group of slightly aggressive Italian American guys, which gives connotations of a gang culture, their attitudes towards other sectors of society help to fuel these connotations by the way they talk to one another and by the way black people are portrayed so differently throughout the film).- There is a theme of loneliness throughout the film, the way in which Travis narrates his life to the audience is a clear indication of this, this can also be seen by the way that some of the scenes are shot (e.g. There is a scene in which Travis is on the phone, in most films this shot would be done with a close up eye level shot of the actor talking on the phone, however in Taxi Driver it is shot using a medium long shot, with Travis to the left of the screen, this style of shot emphasises his loneliness and isolation from the rest of the world and shows him as vulnerable. Another scene that could indicate Travis’ isolation from humanity is the scene where he takes a girl to the cinema to see an adult movie, this suggests that he has a poor understand of how to socialise with others, especially women.- Another theme that runs rich through the film is war. Travis is an ex marine and so instead of seeing New York as somewhere he now lives and works, he treats it as a battlefield, constantly looking for his next mission, desperately seeking some new and exciting challenge in his life. This is obvious by the way he goes about saving Irene (buying all the guns and storming a pimps den shooting any potential enemy/ threat insight).- Snatch…
Taxi DriverThere are a fair few things in the film that I found different and intriguing from the type of films that I usually watch;- The slow pace of the film. This isn’t something that I normally find in films I watch, I couldn’t tell if I liked it or not… It created a very surreal sense of caution, like you knew something was building up within the film and you were just watching, waiting for the bubble of action to burst (although when it finally did, it wasn’t exactly a very long scene and kind of spoilt all the tension and mystery that the film had created up until this point which ultimately led to me finding the film hard to really be drawn into and hard to take interest in).- The controversial issues that this film addresses (especially for that era) are overwhelming. The film pushes some PC boundaries with terms like “n*gger” & “f*g” this is something that you probably wouldn’t of expected to see from a film in the 70’s (especially after America had just started to make changes in society and Rights for black American’s was something that was still relatively new. I wouldn’t of thought it would have been something most American’s were too proud of at the time and so and I found it quite interesting the way the film addressed these quite moral values).- The camera works in a way that intentionally isolated and almost tries to exclude Travis, although the intention of this is clearly to show he is a loner, I think it has a negative affect on the film as it means that some viewers find Travis hard to relate to, and see him as strange, which is understandable as there aren’t many films out there in which the main character doesn’t appeal to the audience.- The constant use of background noise is another feature within the film that I wasn’t expecting and actually quite annoyed me. The reason you can constantly hear the background noise is probably because Travis (being an ex marine) needs to be alert to any dangers around him (plus the constant sound of cars is an indication that he is just a regular taxi driver). It could also be used as a form of repetition, to show how boring Travis life is. The repetitive sound could also represent mental scarring from Vietnam, like he can’t switch off.- The colouring used throughout the film could be seen as quite dull, with a lot of mild midtone colours such as beiges and browns, this helps again to emphasis the boring and repetitive nature of Travis’ lifestyle.- Serious issues are all made light of throughout the film, things like prostitution, drugs, racism, guns and murder are all shown openly throughout the course of the film. I found this strange, especially considering the era when this film was made, many people could of found this offensive and controversial. Another thing I found controversial was the way in which guns and violence were glorified, I got a feeling that the film was almost driving an issues of vigilantism and in a sense, promoting it.
Taxi DriverThings I don’t like about Taxi Driver;- The main character isn’t easy to connect/relate to, thus you feel no emotional connection or empathy towards him. This doesn’t make the film bad, but I did find it uncomfortable to watch.- I don’t like the way the film isolates you as the viewer and doesn’t really invite you into the storyline. I can understand that this is probably the directors intension as its trying to put you into Travis’ shoes and experience what he is feeling. However I don’t think its effective as it just makes the film a bit boring and repetitive to watch, you have to really ‘watch’ the film to take anything from it, and that’s quite a hard thing to do for around 2 hours.- The excessive use of boring and trivial scenes, again I appreciate why they feature so heavily as it offers an insight into maybe why Travis goes off the rails. But I think they’ve been used too much and as a result make the film quite boring to watch (these scenes could be cut down substantially yet it would still get that point across).- I don’t like the way in which African American are portrayed within the film e.g. the black guy robbing the shop. This is an extreme form of racial profiling and I thought it was a feature in the film that could have been cut out as it served very little meaning to the overall story.- I don’t like how unrealistic the film is, Travis murders 3 or 4 people throughout the film, yet he isn’t arrested, or sentenced and is instead portrayed as a hero, to me this is stupid as it simply wouldn’t happen.Things I like about Taxi Driver- I like the way sound is used to indicate repetition, I think this is a perfect way to help represent Travis’ lifestyle and would have been very effective, even without all the trivial scenes too.- I like the way the shots are composed. I think that the camera technique Scorsese uses really help to show how Travis lives his life alone and represent his descent into madness.- The relaxed nature in which the film goes about addressing social taboo’s is quite a nice feature as usually most films from this era wouldn’t of dared do something like this.- I really like the scene in which Travis is buying a gun, I love the way it is composed and set up, showing how each gun is greater than the last one. It is the only scene in the film that has close up centralized shots of something to indicate its importance and so this makes it even more striking.