Essay by David L. Wilkins
From the first frame and first bar, one thing I find most effective about ‘Taxi Driver’ is the Bernard Hermann score. Like columns of steam rising from the street, bog of urban humidity and scenes of decay, the score gives form to a desperate and nullified world. Equal to Scorsese’s filmmaking, Hermann opens a door to the world of Travis Bickle and leaves it ajar for a couple of hours. Relief is offered by walking away afterward, and few of us would linger in the depicted world if given the option.
Sometimes desolation and peering over the precipice can lead to something worthwhile. When the array of images formed in Schrader’s head, he worked feverishly, completing what was for the most part ‘Taxi Driver’ as we know it, within ten days.