Paul (Joseph) Schrader Michael Dempsey - Essay

Michael Dempsey

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In Taxi Driver, New York City is a steaming, polluted cesspool and Travis Bickle's cab a drifting bathysphere from which he can peer at the "garbage and trash" which obsess him: whores, pimps, junkies, wandering maniacs, maggotty streets, random violence. It's definitely a subjective vision—the film locks us into his consciousness—yet not solipsistic, inasmuch as the grisly avenues and their cargo of human flotsam could be observed by anyone walking or riding there at night. The screenwriter, Paul Schrader, also wrote a book entitled Transcendental Style in Film, and he has gone out of his way to make us take one of its subjects, Robert Bresson, for his main inspiration. Actually, it is Bresson's...

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