Minatory and bleakly compelling, the movie is just as fascinating as the mythology surrounding it, offering a truly terrifying portrait of decaying urban decadence and psychosis. At its black heart is De Niro's blue-collar warrior whose moral disorientation leads to a visceral explosion of violence that still has the power to shock, all these years later.
Travis Bickle's digitally enhanced descent into madness is re-released to coincide with the classic's 21st anniversary. A rather redundant anniversary, since Martin Scorsese's coruscating 1976 movie came of age many years ago, attracting a moral panic in the press and legions of pale cinematic imitators. So powerful was Taxi Driver that it even spawned a Travis Bickle imitator in the form of would-be assassin John Hinckley. In 1981, Hinckley tried to shoot Reagan to "impress" Jodie Foster, with whom he had first become obsessed after seeing her playing the movie's teenage hooker.