The Curbside Cuckold's Influence in "Taxi Driver"

Essay by gmortner1High School, 12th gradeA+, June 2006

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One of the most important scenes in the movie "Taxi Driver" is a scene called "The Curbside Cuckold." This scene is a turning point in the movie and is extremely influential in Travis's life. He almost instantaneously changes from a quiet and composed man to someone willing and able to take out his rage on the people of New York City.

The scene begins when Travis picks up a man (played by Martin Scorcese) and drives him to an apartment building. The scene opens with a medium tracking shot following the cab as it pulls up to the curb. It then cuts to the interior of the cab as Travis stops the meter thinking that the man is ready to get out. The man, however, does not want to get out and wants to keep the meter going. The shots throughout this scene are either from the back seat, looking at the back of Travis's head or from just outside the front windshield looking in.

As they sit in the taxi, the man consistently tries to engage Travis in conversation about his personal affairs. Travis never turns around to look at the man; he will only look at him through the rearview mirror. This reflects Travis's desire to keep a distance from his customer and prefers to see him only as if looking through a window. Travis wants to separate himself both emotionally and physically from the people and scum of the city that he despises so much. As the man directs Travis's attention to the lighted room in the apartment building the camera changes to a slowly panning shot seen through Travis's eyes as he scans the apartment building looking for the window. Finally Travis sees the room. Conversation for the most part has been one...