Taxi Driver (1976)
Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) is hailed as the one of the best American movies ever made. The tale of the single male, his alienation from the ultra urban society and his voluntary involvement in the mires of the underworld definitely has its own share of lovers and haters. This post is about the classic scene from the movie where the protagonist, Travis Bickle talks to himself!

Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) is fed up by everything that is going on around. He decides to end it all and purchases a few guns. He prepares a setup on his robe so that holstering of the weapon is easier. He stands in front of a mirror and tests the setup. When he is about to finish, he enters a monologue similar to that in Raging Bull (1980).

Travis: You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? Oh yeah? OK.

Here is the video:

Scorsese uses the power of the mirror once again to carve out his character. Travis Bickle has always been a loner with his only attempt at love also failing. In this situation, Travis sees his only companion in the mirror – his image. His arrogance is also visible that establishes his hatred and inability to accept a stranger’s company and the “society” in general. The social isolation coupled with the rot of the society eventually leads to his mental disintegration and hence his choice of violence. Interestingly, the whole monologue is rumoured to be an improvisation by De Niro himself.