This film isn’t a story, it’s a mood. It’s how you feel when you haven’t been sleeping, that curtain of blackness just behind your eyes, threatening to fall. If only you could allow yourself to abandon your waking vigilance and slide down, give into it. Let go.
But you can’t. Won’t. You’re too afraid. As if the world around you weren’t terrifying enough—you’ve seen stuff, horrible things you can’t stop thinking about when you’re alone—you’re scared to death of yourself. Scared of your own evil thoughts, your dark desires.
You’re Travis, the taxi driver. Director Martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader have set things up so you’re inside the title character. The voice-over narration from Travis’s diary keeps you there, dreading the next moment, trapped in New York, the seediest, most dangerous parts of the city.
Something’s got to give because you can’t live this way. The pent up rage and lust and despair are building up, ready to explode. You crave it, the release. The world’s a mess and you’re a part of it, an insignificant part, but you’re beginning to see the point of your lousy life. You’ve found your purpose.
Bring it on.