I was looking at some posts I made on another board re: Taxi Driver a while back, and wanted to re-post here. I'm not sure these have been specifically discussed on this board:
First of all, I've seen the film various times and never did I think that the ending of the movie (the letter from Iris' parents, the newspaper article, Travis recovered & back to driving taxis, seeing Betsy again, etc.) was anything other than something that actually happened & wasn't open to interpretation. The first I heard that some people suspected it was just Travis' dying fantasy were online articles/forums discussing/interpreting the film. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that in '70's NYC, someone that rescued a young girl from degradation would be regarded as a hero.
Also wanted to address Travis taking Betsy to an adult theater for a first date: One explanation is that it shows how naive Travis is in regards to women; It may be he genuinely thought that Betsy wouldn't have a problem with seeing the film. And, I could understand his taking her if they had a conversation beforehand & he got the impression she wouldn't mind, but obviously this didn't happen. This goes along with my strong impression that Travis hasn't dated much, if ever?! However, another possibility is that he wanted Betsy to reject him and so he did something to make sure she did so; maybe he thought Betsy was too good for him/out of his league, and there may also have been some self-loathing on his part.
And, here are some other aspects of the film I found interesting:
I felt the conversation that Travis had with Iris in the diner/deli quite significant; he was telling her to go back home to her parents & live a "normal" life, etc. However, IMHO he was doing this partially because he was bemoaning the fact that he himself was estranged from his parents - he didn't seem to have much contact with them other than sending them birthday cards in which he lies about having a supposedly lucrative & mysterious job, a great girlfriend, etc. He obviously wasn't close to his family, and probably never saw them or spoke to them.
There was an interesting interview with Jodie Foster I saw on the Special features of an early TD DVD. In this, she mentioned that, in her opinion, the Iris character would not stay at home with her parents after being "saved" by Travis, but would probably run away again at some point soon after. Probably true, and when I saw the end of the film with the voice-over by the parents & the newspaper articles, it seemed like Iris would run away again - she didn't seem like the type to stay at home with her convervative parents, go to school, & lead a "normal" life...
When I first saw the film, I felt the Tom character (A. Brooks) was out of place in a serious drama; probably because by the time I finally saw TD in 2003, I had already seen Brooks in many comedies. Plus, he obviously (though subtly) played the character for laughs in his TD scenes (which were admittedly few). However, when watching the movie later, I realized that the character is perfect in the film. Travis' contempt for Tom isn't only because he's competing with him for Betsy, but also because Tom represents everything Travis despises, i.e. hippies, liberals, etc.Taxi Driver
It's been too long since i saw it. Only saw it once and it's probably been 7 or 8 years. I remember Jodie Foster being in it at a very young age and a sort of violent ending and not much else, heh. Need to watch it again.
I did re-watch another Scorsese movie the other day, though, and it was awesome, so I need to re-watch some others.
To add to my last post - digging up some other comments I wrote up, which are relevant to the film:
Re: TD, this is definitely one of my all time favorite movies. Both disturbing & brilliant, which is something that is hard to achieve. IMHO it's DeNiro's best film, and also Scorsese's best as well. It truly captures a time & place perfectly; when watching this film you feel like you're right there in NYC back in the mid-'70's - this is also difficult to achieve, but is pulled off extremely well here.
I also like the strong film noir aspect - Travis' cruising down the NY City streets at night with the neon lights, shadowy figures, etc. is quintessential noir, and evokes a great mood/atmosphere. The sublime score by Bernard Hermann adds to this feeling as well; I liked the initially smooth jazzy quality to this, followed by those harsher, more foreboding sounds. Well done.
Re: the TD regular Blu ray (not 4K) that came out in 2011: Wow! The PQ is sharp, the colors are vivid, and the print still has an appropriate amount of grain. Truly Superb. This may be the best individual Blu release of a film I've ever seen..WHEN you take into account the vast improvement over previous releases. Kudos & Thanks to all involved in producing this.
I've seen this theory applied to a lot of endings in movies since the internet started. Hell, its been applied to the Garfield comic strip.
My take is, the movie wasnt going that way with it. The ending was what it was.