I went to bed so early last night that I was up at 3am watching Taxi Driver, quel meta. One of my first memories is of passing through that ratchet Times Square with my parents; the littlest me fell for its underbelly the way you get hung up on a bad smell. Scorcese captures its neon reds and blues, blurred and bolting–its cheap calories and cheaper sex–with Cadillac cars and a Cadillac score. And then there’s De Niro’s ex-marine outsider wandering and wondering, blood-shot with an ignoramus’s bravado. Which is to say: terror, especially when it comes to his unamused muse Cybill Shepherd and her very fine, DVF-clad ass.
So loosely adapted from Dostovesky’s Notes from the Underground, this Scorcese-Schrader collab doesn’t endorse the basest attitudes about race, women, sexuality. Rather, it inventories them as evidence of Our General Decline. Herein lies a portrait of a dangerously white male that could be stripped from today’s headlines except the macro-aggression isn’t just garish. It’s gorgeous.