Watched the movie for the second time. Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro, Cybil Shepard were so young in this 1976 movie.
A taxi driver, Traver, was having an anxiety attack and could not sleep. He worked hard and was looking for the meaning of life and trying to do something heroic in his life. He had a crush on a Presidential campaign manager, Cybil Shepard. But he was rejected by her because he didn’t have the right etiquette, like not taking your date to an x-rated movie. The rejection turned him into a gun-slinging cowboy, whose attempt at shooting the Presidential candidate was foiled. His attention turned into rescuing a young 12-year-old hooker from her pimp. And his shoot out with the pimp and the establishment turned him into a gang-busting hero. At the end, he came back to the obsession with Cybil Shepard.
This movie reflects the boredom and sense of purposelessness in our society, especially among the youths. Even a perfectly good-intention person can be on the wrong side of the law easily. Robert De Niro’s performance was simply amazing, especially the line, “Are you looking at me? .. ” The last shoot-out scene was such a classic in those days, though the scene was quite violent. The mentality of a stalker was revealed clearly as Traver went from a relatively healthy young man to a hateful, anger-mis-directed criminal. Very piercing and dark movie.