__________________ "Happiness is a lie. Life is horror. The light is always dying all across the universe. The last star will flicker out someday, when it does, all that remains is shadow. And I will be its king!"'-Amahl Farouk
Recently saw YWNRH & found it brilliant - one of the best movies from 2017, or any year for that matter. Extremely disturbing & horrific; the flash-backs were used to great effect, and you got a clearer picture of Joe's psyche due to the horrors he had been through in his past - i.e., the abuse by his father as a child; his prior military/war experiences, etc.
The story was very compelling. I.e., here is a guy who is hired "under the table" to find kidnapping victims (all young women) & does whatever it takes to achieve his goal(s), including killing the criminals involved. The parents who "hire" him obviously don't care about going through "proper channels" and just want to find their child - at all costs. And, instead of using guns/firepower as weapons, Joe instead uses a "hammer" that he buys in a local store.
I am huge fan of Taxi Driver & other gritty/urban NYC-based films from the '70's, and this brought to mind films from that era - which I'm sure was intentional. The movie also brought to mind more recent NYC-based films like Bad Lieutenant and Good Time (as a previous poster mentioned), which were themselves seeming homages to '70's films.
I normally find JP's acting too "wooden", but that quality really fit his character here - in fact, I find this to be his best role yet.
I did see quite a few distinct homages to Taxi Driver:
-Both Travis Bickle & Joe (JP) are loners.
-Both obviously suffer from PTSD, almost certainly because of their prior military service/war experiences. This was obvious in flash-backs in YWNRH; in TD Bickle stated that he had been in the Marines - and almost certainly saw combat in Vietnam. Going along with this, both had serious physical scars.
-Both Bickle & Joe rescued a young girl from a life of degradation.
-Both Bickle & Joe went up against a political figure. However, in TD, Bickle's hatred toward Palantine was unwarranted. Conversely, in YWNRH Joe went up against a politician who was kidnapping young women.
-Both films featured the lead character driving around NYC at night, and seeing the neon signs, street life outside, etc. - while remaining separated from everything around them.
That all being said, I don't see YWNRH as a copy of TD by any means - the details were completely different in both films. If anything, as I mentioned I see YWNRH as an homage to TD with some similarities - but still with an overall different storyline.