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Introduction


I started writing reviews earlier in the year, mainly film but some TV shows as well, I've got my own blog that I do with another person but I want to share my reviews with more people who'll hopefully enjoy them. You'll notice that at the moment the first reviews being posted will mainly be positive reviews of good films, as I go further they'll begin to vary as I watch more films, I started off reviewing the films I like, naturally.

I'll be using this post as an index as I have quite a few reviews to roll out very soon, cheers guys.

Some individual reviews may have different ratings (or use a different system) to what I have listed on this index page, that's probably down to switching systems or slightly amended ratings upon further consideration/viewings.

Film Reviews (In release order, then alphabetically)


Total Film Count: 50

1954

Dial M for Murder

Rear Window


1955

To Catch a Thief


1956

The Killing


1957

Paths of Glory

12 Angry Men


1959

North by Northwest


1960

Psycho .


1964

A Fistful of Dollars


1966

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Persona


1968

Rosemary's Baby

2001: A Space Odyssey


1969

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


1973

The Day of the Jackal

Live and Let Die


1976

Taxi Driver


1979

Apocalypse Now


1986

Blue Velvet

Platoon


1990

Edward Scissorhands


1991

Boyz n the Hood


1993

True Romance


1994

Pulp Fiction

The Shawshank Redemption


1995

The Usual Suspects


1997

Jackie Brown


1998

The Big Lebowski


1999

American Beauty


2000

Memento

Snatch.


2001

Mulholland Drive


2002

Road to Perdition


2003

Oldboy


2004

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy


2006

Borat: Cultural Leanings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan


2007

Lars and the Real Girl

There Will Be Blood

3:10 to Yuma

Wild Hogs


2010

Submarine


2011

Drive

The Grey

Horrible Bosses

Moneyball

Rango: Original Review / Extended Review

Red Riding Hood

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Django Unchained

Killing Them Softly

Looper

Moonrise Kingdom
+
Skyfall
+



Film Review #1



Pulp Fiction (1994)


Based around the lives of several ‘gangsters’, Pulp Fiction is a unique film, following the lives of various characters who are seemingly unlinked yet often cross each others’ paths, viewing their similar lifestyles through each of their own perspectives. The non-linear storyline, pop music and large use of violence are three traits often associated with Quentin Tarantino and the three certainly serve up a creative and extremely enjoyable film in Pulp Fiction.

*Review contains spoilers*

After watching Pulp Fiction it might leave you confused at a bizarre story containing what may seem filled with unneeded sub-plots , but it’s the bizarre and unusual way in which the story is constructed that makes for such an interesting storyline and makes Pulp Fiction the great film that it is. One way of looking at the plot is that of luck, a factor that appears to largely affect the lives of the characters involved such as Vincent’s death and Marsellus and Butch’s fight/rape, not only bad luck but also good luck such as Vincent’s and Jules lucky escape from six bullets and Jules’ decision not to kill Pumpkin and Honey Bunny. It’s this luck however and the events of the film that allows us to see each characters way of thinking, how they see their lifestyles as acceptable when living as criminals.

The star actor is John Travolta as Vincent Vega in a role that revitalised his career, he plays a man who despite being the ‘main character’ gets killed off seemingly early on in the film (although appears in the final scenes that took place prior to his death due to the on-linear story) showing Tarantino’s willingness to kill off key characters as seen before in Reservoir Dogs, this uncertainty that comes with many twists throughout attributes to an unpredictable story.

The film has a number of important themes that are maintained in many of its chapters, on the way tackling a number of personal issues and moral decisions made by the characters such as Vincent’s decision whether to sleep with Mia Wallace, questioning his loyalty to his boss Marsellus Wallace. The ‘Gold Watch’ chapter features another key theme of the movie, pride as well honour which can be seen mainly through the character Butch, portrayed by Bruce Willis. When Butch is asked to lose his final fight he refuses, unwilling to sacrifice his pride at the request of his ruthless boss, killing a man in the process. This pride for Butch can be seen in the way he holds his father’s gold watch in high regard with him willing to take extreme risks to rescue this item as he attempts to avoid his former colleagues. Despite being perfectly fine with killing a man Butch shows just how much he values a man’s pride and dignity when he decides to eventually rescue his boss Marsellus Wallace (a man who tried to kill him) from being raped after a series of rather unfortunate events.

The films main focus is on the duo of Vincent and Jules who is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, a man who takes the decision to retire from the criminal lifestyle following an act of ‘God’s divine intervention’, this is when we begin to see the characters personality and personal beliefs. At the start of the film we see the cold-hearted Jules, killing two men whilst reading out a revised chapter from the bible, Ezekiel 25:17 (Probably the second best Jackson quote behind ‘Snakes on a Plane’, of course), he reveals later that this reading had no meaning to it originally and it is not until after somehow surviving being shot that Jules appreciates his life differently, he sits in the restaurant explaining his views on the eating of Bacon before events lead to him considering a different version of his bible passage that he now realises may have a more important meaning to it. Vince Vega on the other hand seems very ignorant of the way he lives his life, murdering people and taking drugs with him calling for the death of the ‘criminal who keyed his car’, a somewhat ironic and hypocritical quote.

Mia Wallace, portrayed by Uma Thurman is the wife of Marsellus and her main role in the film brings a mysterious feel, the film begins with a discussion between Vincent and Jules about her husband who had allegedly pushed a man off a building for giving her a foot massage but we begin to get a better perspective of her character as she acts as the centre point of the majority of the first half of the film when we see her spend time with Vincent Vega who ends up being tested morally as we see him thinking over whether he should sleep with Mia Wallace and betray his boss or not.

Pulp Fiction wouldn’t be what it is without its ‘meaningless’ scenes such as Jules and Vincent’s discussion regarding ‘The Royale with Cheese’, although these conversations do not serve much purpose and don’t act as a way to advance the plot they are what make Tarantino’s films so enjoyable, the superb dialogue makes Pulp Fiction what it is as we seeh umorous yet perfectly normal conversations betweens the films characters who are ‘normal’ people. Another much talked about plot device is the ‘MacGuffin’ created by Tarantino’s decision to leave the briefcase’s contents unknown, allowing it’s contents to be ‘whatever the viewer wants them to be’. The film uses a whole host of unique creative techniques to achieve a masterpiece instead of following a standard style story filled with clichéd and predictable plot devices and twists that we have come to expect from many films. Tarantino is widely regarded as one of the best film modern film directors. Pulp Fiction is in my (and the majority of other people’s) opinion his best film so far, it is a combination of everything I love about the director, a film created that combines many traits that we now associate with him, Pulp Fiction is perhaps one of the most enjoyable films I have ever seen and although their may be films that better it, if I had to pick one film to watch at any time then this would be it.

RATING:



Film Review #2



Rango (2011)

Rango was awarded the Best Animated Feature Film of the Year at the 2012 Academy Awards , and for good reason. A brilliant animated adventure film in stunning 2D (Yes, 2D, proving that films don’t have to jump on the 3D bandwagon to be successful). Rango is a film based around the main character of that name, a chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp who stumbles upon the town of ‘Dirt’.

Dirt, set in the wild west has two problems, it’s in need of a new sheriff and it’s in desperately low supply of water, in order to tackle both Rango puts himself forward as the town sheriff and hero as he attempts to impress his new friends with his great tales despite being nothing more than just an ordinary chameleon, one tale in particular gains him the respect of the local people as he explains how he defeated 7 men with one bullet.

The film is filled with references to many classic Westerns, in particular the great ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ with the visual appearance of the man with no name himself, Clint Eastwood and the villainous snake also appears to be the animal form of Lee Van Cleef. Rango is an animated and more modern take on the classic genre, it takes the parts of Westerns we are familiar with, the aesthetics and overall feel as well as other aspects such as the sound, it then combines these with the modern approach that comes with an animal made Western.

Rango takes on the traditional role of a new Sherriff in town, acting as a hero to solve the town’s problems whilst confronting the local villain in a classic Western-style plot. Every aspect of the film that is made in such stunning detail, ranging from the grungy Western colours used to the small yet great sound effects such as those on the weapons attribute to create a great mix of new and old.

Whilst Rango can be categorised as both a comedy and kids film but I feel that these aren’t it’s two strongest areas, whilst funny in parts (and I feel it achieves what it wants through this) I don’t feel this film particular focuses on the humour side and is mainly concerned with the adventure and emotional side of Rango, a character who looks to prove himself and fit in with the rest of the town. Rango also uses a lot of more mature humour and references that most kids will not get as well as having its fair use of violence, the fact it is an animation that uses animals will mean kids will probably love it but the content of the film itself is probably suited to an older audience. Perhaps another negative is that there are certain parts of the film seems to drag on over a number of scenes and take a while to get going before reaching their climax, meaning that the film is less intense and exciting as it maybe could be.

Overall I feel that Rango is a brilliant modern take on a classic Western style plot, it is constructed extremely well that it feels we are watching a classic Western even though this is an animated animal film, this is achieved with stunning visual effects to create a great aesthetic feel as well as though great use of sounds and also some greatly fitting voices for many characters. In terms of animations, Rango may not be held in the same bracket as the likes of Toy Story and Up in terms of the plot and the connection to the viewers, but it is certainly one of my favourites for its overall feel and story, and how well the it has translated a Western in to an Animation. For Gore Verbinski who has Depp on three Pirates of the Caribbean films before this it seems slightly strange seeing the best combination work with Depp as what is an ugly animal in Rango, the pair are set to work together again in the 2013 film ​Lone Ranger, another Western that Verbinski looks set to take a unique and modern approach and it's certainly a film I'll be looking forward to seeing.

RATING:



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Yes Daniel, good reviews. I'm just wondering if you really think that Pulp Fiction and Rango deserve the same rating or do you maybe need more ratings? Welcome!
__________________
It's what you learn after you know it all that counts. - John Wooden
My IMDb page



1. Great reviews

2. Kinda bouncing off what Mark said, how often do you give 4/4?
__________________
Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it



Yes Daniel, good reviews. I'm just wondering if you really think that Pulp Fiction and Rango deserve the same rating or do you maybe need more ratings? Welcome!
The rating system is pretty much taken from Ebert, what you've highlighted is perhaps a criticism of it but I feel it works well enough to help me categorise films.

When giving a rating I am not solely rating it on how good overall it is as a film for example if The Godfather is 10/10 I'd give Rango a 7 or 8, the rating I try to give relative to other films in the genre its based in and also what it's set out to try and achieve as a film. When I'm judging Rango I'm giving it a 4 based on the fact that it is one of my favourite modern animations and I love Westerns so I love how it's gave a unique approach to a classic genre, maybe I'm being a bit generous.



Film Review #3



Jackie Brown (1997)

Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were my first two Quentin Tarantino films that I watched and I instantly fell in love with him, I watched Jackie Brown with high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed. If you are going to compare the Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction to Jackie Brown then they are totally different films and unlike Tarantino's first two films that are filled with fast-paced, bizarre and 'cool' scenes filled with pop culture references and flashy violence, Jackie Brown appears to be a more mature effort from the director with focuses more on the story's substance as he gives us a well-paced tale filled some brilliant performances from the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Pam Grier and Robert Forster. For Jackie Brown the characters within the film are key as they each devise their own plans in order to benefit themselves, the story of the film revolves around criminal boss Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson) who uses Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) in order to smuggle a large amount of money in to the country, as we watch the film we eventually see the individual plans from each character combine as the film reaches its climax.

Although different in style, Jackie Brown has some similarities to Tarantino’s other films, first of all it has a crime based plot and we are familiar with the lifestyles of some of the characters. The film also uses chapters to clearly distinguish between parts of the film but unlike Pulp Fiction the story is showed in a linear way which is more suited to the story and the unfolding plans of the characters. The main character of the film is of course Jackie Brown who is portrayed by the brilliantly Pam Grier who is able to hold her own up against ruthless criminals, one of the best scenes that shows her strong character takes place in a bar when she has a discussion with Ordell over the percentage of money she should get from the deal. Ordell Robbie is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson and he provides another memorable performance a clever guns dealer following his famous performance in Pulp Fiction.

The film lasts almost two hours and a half and this can certainly be felt, some will complain this is too long however I fell that it works well as the story slowly unfolds and the plan becomes more complex as more layers are added by each individual character, I enjoyed the way the film was set out and felt the time allowed the extremely interesting characters to develop, in Jackie Brown there are only a handful of key characters in which we see their own angles, a good decision by Tarantino as he allows them to develop their own personalities and clever ideas unlike Pulp Fiction in which we see double the characters and less character focus. As mentioned earlier the interlinking plots from different perspectives come in to play during the money exchange chapter as each character plays a different role in Jackie Brown’s plan to fool the police and also capitalise on the money available for her own benefit, the majority of the film (at least the first half) is spent building up to this chapter, when we finally reach it the film ups it pace, giving us an exciting and dramatic finale with sudden and unpredictable plot twists resulting in the consequences of each characters' actions being felt. Much like the rest of Tarantino’s films, Jackie Brown has a distinctive soundtrack, this time instead of focusing on a mixture of classic pop we hear a mixture of Soul and R&B that has been chosen to suit the feel of the film and atmosphere, we also see Tarantino work his magic in terms of dialogue, although perhaps more normal he allows the characters to interact naturally and spontaneously based on their own personalities that we have seen developed.

Aside from Jackson and Grier the film sees a number of other great roles played out throughout the film, one of the best performances is Robert Forster as a bail bonds seller Max Cherry who becomes involved in an unlikely relationship with Jackie Brown. Pulp Fiction is famous for reviving the career of John Travolta and Tarantino has seemingly had the same affect on Forster who's career improved after a great performance in Jackie Brown. One man who's career didn't need reviving was Robert De Niro who brilliantly plays the role of one of Ordell’s friends, an ex-convict stoner with a short temper, he becomes mixed up in the money exchange events and becomes increasingly key to the film as it progresses.

After the initial success of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino was not always praised for his style, often being criticised for his use of violence and lack of substance, instead focussing on style. Jackie Brown completes a trio of great films and a great decade for Tarantino who has proven his maturity and ability as a director with the film.

RATING:



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Hey nice reviews
Indeed. A little too nice for my liking though. You're new here so I'll cut you some slack but you can't be stealing my thunder; I'm the main and best reviewer around these parts. Exluding Sexy Celebrity of course. And Used Future. Oh and Rodent. And that guy Justin. And.....



Anyway what I'm trying to say is welcome. I'm actually in the opposite boat as you, I'm thinking of starting up a blog to try and get my reviews to more people. Although a large degree of that is just having a second source for my reviews in case the board crashed and I lost all my work.



Indeed. A little too nice for my liking though. You're new here so I'll cut you some slack but you can't be stealing my thunder; I'm the main and best reviewer around these parts. Exluding Sexy Celebrity of course. And Used Future. Oh and Rodent. And that guy Justin. And.....



Anyway what I'm trying to say is welcome. I'm actually in the opposite boat as you, I'm thinking of starting up a blog to try and get my reviews to more people. Although a large degree of that is just having a second source for my reviews in case the board crashed and I lost all my work.
Haha I'll take the first paragraph as a compliment, so cheers When I started a blog was meant to be me and another guy but he hardly posts anything so I just use it myself at the moment, started writing reviews as I have loads of free time and watch too many films, decided to join forums as I decided I wanted more interaction with others who enjoyed films like me.

Was looking through your DVD collection as well, it's brilliant and lets just say if I ever end up having watched or collected that many films I'll be very happy, I'm only 17 at the moment so got loads of time ahead of me

Btw now that I'm posting up reviews I've done before do people mind about the pace I roll them out, will probably try and post a few a day to catch up to where I am now if people don't mind



Nice reviews matey.

I'd have to agree with what the others have said, try adjusting your ratings system. 4 stars gives little Leeway.

I use the basic % system.

Screenplay marks out of 20
Writing (inc Dialogue writing) out of 20
Acting marks (inc dialogue delivery) out of 20
Action (inc choreography) marks out of 20
FX (CGI, Practical etc) marks out of 20

Add up the scores at the end and it should give a relatively close % rating.
I find it's more precise. Just my two-pence worth.


Doing a good job on the overall reviews though matey, have enjoyed reading... keep it up!
__________________
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'



Nice reviews matey.

I'd have to agree with what the others have said, try adjusting your ratings system. 4 stars gives little Leeway.

I use the basic % system.

Screenplay marks out of 20
Writing (inc Dialogue writing) out of 20
Acting marks (inc dialogue delivery) out of 20
Action (inc choreography) marks out of 20
FX (CGI, Practical etc) marks out of 20

Add up the scores at the end and it should give a relatively close % rating.
I find it's more precise. Just my two-pence worth.


Doing a good job on the overall reviews though matey, have enjoyed reading... keep it up!
Thanks for the comment, in future I'll give a four star rating then also try to translate it in to a more precise rating using that system and see how it works, I agree it would be better to give an overall score rather than one that's more relative to the film and it's genre/target.

Edit: Tried implementing the system, seems good only one I'm unsure on is FX as it's hard to judge when not a lot is always needed/used but it should be fine



Miss Vicky's Loyal and Willing Slave
Was looking through your DVD collection as well, it's brilliant and lets just say if I ever end up having watched or collected that many films I'll be very happy, I'm only 17 at the moment so got loads of time ahead of me
Thank you very much. And feel free to drop by my reviews thread as well, size up your competition.



Film Review #4



The Usual Suspects (1995)

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist"


The Usual Suspects is a film that will leave you thinking long after its ending and one which will become all the more clearer after a second watch. The film follows a group of criminals, lined up together following the hijacking of a truck, they are nicknamed 'The Usual Suspects', a name which is taken from the classic film Casablanca. When lined up all five men protest their innocence, setting out on a revenge mission 'to salvage a little dignity' as put by McManus.

The initial events surrounding the lineup seem irrelevant come the film's ending with the film largely focussing around the plot of criminal boss Keyser Soze, a mysterious character often referred to as 'the devil himself' who sets the men the task of destroying 91 million dollars worth of dope, why has he gave them this task? As they have all stolen from him in the past, although not intentionally/directly, hence they are still alive. The aftermath of the job that is set out to the team is displayed immediately at the start of the film, with it's main star 'Verbal' Kint, portrayed by the brilliant Kevin Spacey reciting the events that have lead to 27 deaths on a large boat. The story is told through a series of flashbacks as Dave Kujan, a tough and intimidating US customs officer portrayed by Chazz Palminteri is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious case.

*If you have not watched the film then I urge you to stop reading from now on, spoilers below.*

Following the film's end you'll be left kicking yourself in frustration yet amazed at perhaps one of the most famous twists ever in this fantastic thriller hence my recommendation of a second watch where everything should become so much clearer in terms of the plot including subtle clues and the film's great attempts to divert (successfully, at least in my case) you from the truth.

Upon initially thinking over the film I was immediately impressed by what I had seen, when writing a review I like to research and read over reviews to ensure I understand what I am writing and I have noticed that The Usual Suspects comes with mixed reviews. Many have criticised the ending and the film itself, I remember reading a piece of work from Roger Ebert that talked about the idea of the film having 'a lot of icing but not enough cake' and that the idea of the plot itself is implausible, why would a man like Keyser Soze feel the need to reveal all this information to the police before getting away? Whilst such arguments are valid I feel that in order to watch a film like this you just have to accept the circumstances created as the truth and go along with them, some are able to do that but some find them too implausible and hence dislike the film, my theory is that Keyser Soze had finally had finally got rid of the one last person who could testify against him, he didn't have to tell the made up story tto the police but he wanted to, one last 'f**k you' to the men who had come so close but never caught him.

The five 'suspects' are a mix of personalities, one of the film's main strengths is its acting and each character and their different styles are portrayed brilliantly, complimenting each other greatly. Aside from Kevin Spacey, who is undoubtedly the star of the film, there is ex-criminal turned straight Dean Keaton portrayed by Gabriel Byrne who pulls of the role of a cold-hearted murderer turned businessman and husband extremely well, one criticism of his story is that I felt his relationship with criminal lawyer Edie Finneran is left under-explored, with his wife only appearing a few times throughout the film, leaving the emotional side of a man with two sides being left used not as well as it potentially could of in a film like this. One particular scene with Keaton and Finneran in which he is seen overlooking her before leaving seemed particularly odd and out of place. Stephen Baldwin plays the role of the loud-mouth and extremely cool McManus, probably the biggest 'criminal' of the five and the original creator of the plan for revenge on the police. Baldwin who I have admittedly not seen that often as an actor plays this role to perfection, achieving a great look for a cool and relaxed criminal. Benicio Del Toro then plays the role of Fenster, McManus' criminal partner and does very well in his role although he is not as prominent as the others, then finally there's Kevin Pollak as Todd Hockney, who manages to pull of his role of a dramatic criminal extremely well, another strange yet rather funny reveal later in the film is that he did actually hijack the truck from the beginning.

Aside from the five usual suspects, one of the best roles portrayed in the film is Pete Postlethwaite as Kobayashi, the famous actor is exceptional in his role as an extremely calm and well spoken lawyer with a strange accent, he does a great job in portraying both his cool and composed side as well as his criminal side with the character showing his vicious side on a number of occasions, one particular scene when this can be seen hears him threaten to 'only castrate' McManus' young nephew.

As well as the fantastic acting throughout credit has to go to both Christopher McQuarrie who's plot will be remembered for it's dramatic twist, as mentioned earlier some will criticise the films plausibility but for most viewers the film has seemed to having a lasting and enjoyable impact. If you can criticise the actual plot then you'll find it difficult to criticise Bryan Singer who directs the film brilliantly, telling the story fantastically through the use of two interlinking perspectives, the flashbacks of the five men and the interrogation of Kint which reaches its climax in the film's famous ending.

The film has a combination of all the ingredients needed for a successful and enjoyable film, the plot is very interesting and directed as well as it could be, the use of subtle details that become evident with multiple viewings are very good, and then there's of course the dramatic ending which makes for a must watch for any mystery/thriller fan.

RATING:



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
Do you know we have the popcorn box rating here?













You can also add + or - to the end of your popcorn ratings. It's kinda nice and fun and gives one a few more ratings than Ebert . Personally, I use a 1-10 rating scale, but technically it's broken down by tenths (0.1), but I don't use that around here because my personal reasons for breaking down ratings that precisely would mean absolutely nothing to almost anyone else. I think Rodent's percent scale works well for him, but I also think there are more than five ways to rate or interpret a film and that you cannot possibly approach every film with the same scale. I mean, I try to do it, but it's impossible when films come at you from so many different perspectives. Shut up, mark!

Sorry I hijacked your thread, but I was mostly trying to tell you about our rating system here and how to use it if you'd like. Just quote my post here and it will show you how I made all the popcorn ratings.

Keep up the good work.



Film Review #5



Taxi Driver (1976)

“Someday a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets”

Taxi Driver, in not only my opinion, is one of the best films ever made. A masterpiece in directing from Martin Scorsese and memorable acting including a fantastic performance from Robert De Niro make Taxi Driver a great film and Travis Bickle one of the greatest characters in film history.

Despite the films popularity and largely positive reviews I have heard many criticise the film, in fact whilst watching it with my younger brother, he himself felt disappointed at what he saw. Whilst not agreeing with him and others, I can understand why people may see the film in that light. Unlike a lot of films Taxi Driver isn’t your usual violent filled action/thriller, instead Taxi Driver is a more drawn-out, psychological study of a man the majority of people can connect with in some way or another, a story of rage building up inside a man.

Travis Bickle is a war veteran and suffers from insomnia, this leads him to taking a job as a taxi driver to keep him occupied at night. Whilst watching my brother commented that the scenes were ‘boring and long, with nothing of interest happening, that the storytelling provided little entertainment or excitement, with no significant or exciting twists’, but this should not be viewed as a negative, instead the film is showing us an accurate portrayal how the empty and lonely Travis feels, a nobody who wants to be somebody, who is fed up and wants to take action against ‘the scum of the streets’.

This film may not appeal to some people who view Bickle’s life and behaviour as unacceptable and disturbing but although you may not be able to reason with his actions, you can definitely understand why he chooses them. The dark atmosphere, complimented by a deep and chilling score by Bernard Herrmann that only further adds to what is a living hell for Travis as we view his is spiral in to madness.
I think everyone has a bit of Travis Bickle inside them to some degree, rage against things we see as unacceptable in modern society which makes the film so brilliant, resulting in it having such a deep impact on the viewer. But it’s not just Robert De Niro who performs so brilliantly in the leading role, with the young Jodie Foster giving a performance well beyond her age as a young prostitute named Iris. The film also sees the now more well-known young duo of Albert Brooks and Harvey Keitel as well as a delightful cameo by the director himself, a young Martin Scorsese.

Cybill Shepherd plays Betsy, a key figure in the life of Travis, a young woman whom Travis is in attracted to. His awkward social skills are shown with the way he acts around woman, part of his lonely and isolated life. In one of the film's scenes of the film he takes Betsy to a porn cinema, unaware that this may be viewed as an unusual thing for a woman. Travis’ ignorance is also shown through his lack of knowledge for politics and it is this ignorance that leaves him later angered and confused, left unable to comprehend why he has faced rejection from Betsy who is so willing to show loyalty to Palantine, a local senator. There appears to be a general anger towards women from Travis who is unable to understand why they are willing to remain loyal to others, this is also shown later in an equally great scene in a café with Iris where she chooses to stay loyal to her pimp Sport despite clearly being angered by her lifestyle as a prostitute.

​*Spoilers in the next three paragraphs, skip if not seen film*

This personal anger leads Travis to self-destruct, taking action in to his own hands, creating one of the greatest film endings as he goes on a violent rampage. It’s the final scene’s irony and message that are left long-lasting in the minds of the viewer. Seemingly seconds away from killing the senator Palantine (likely due to Betsy’s rejection of him), Travis gets a ‘lucky’ escape before going on to kill ‘the scum’ including Sport, before saving Iris, completing an ironic turnaround.

Scorsese has said that the Mohawk hair style that Travis appears with in the final scenes is a sign used by soldiers who knew they were going in to certain death. But things do not turned out as planned by Travis who comes out of the killing spree as a hero after returning Iris to her parents. From possibly assassinating a senator and being known as a psychopathic murderer, Travis is now a hero of society, hailed for his actions of saving Iris.

This ending is followed by a scene where Travis gives Betsy a lift in his taxi, a woman he had formerly loved before being rejected, this time he rejects her. This seems to complete Travis' turnaround showing that the events may have had a positive affect on Travis who is now respected and not seen as a disturbed psychopath. However this feeling is short-lived in the final moments and one of the best in the film as Travis looks at ‘his own eyeballs in the mirror’ before being disgusted by what he can see in himself, suggesting that Travis is indeed not a changed man and this glory and respect he has achieved was purely through luck and is not deserving, these actions were not those of a hero doing the right thing, but a very dangerous psychopath, reminding us that the events could have lead to a completely different fate for the taxi driver and that Travis may attempt such dangerous actions again in the future where he may not turn out so lucky.

A combination of a brilliantly directed story, fantastic acting in which a variety of psychologically interesting characters are portrayed, mixed with a brilliantly chilling soundtrack makes Taxi Driver one of the most deeply affecting and emotionally thrilling films of all time. A masterpiece from Scorsese that is still seen as relevant and as breathtaking many years after its creation.

RATING:



Film Review #6



Memento (2000)

Christopher Nolan is largely regarded as one of the most talented modern directors for his work during the 21st century particularly with both The Dark Knight and Inception, two of the most popular and highly acclaimed films in recent times. Perhaps less well known than those two films, ‘Memento’ is a film many people will rate equally as good if not better than them with the film providing a mind-boggling and extremely interesting plot.

Memento follows the story of Leonard Shelby, a young man who suffers from short term memory loss following an ‘incident’ in which his wife was viciously attacked and killed. The story is shown in an interesting way, one which keeps you thinking as two stories unfold in opposite directions as we delve deeper in to Leonard’s live, finding out more clues as we put together the Memento puzzle. The film is not shown in a non-linear way not directly because of Leonard’s condition as you may have expected but instead to keep us thinking and confused, we truly have no idea of what has happened (or happening), in a way it forces us to think like Leonard, we are trying to piece together little bits of information we remember from scenes to get us to the current situation whilst he tries to look at his polaroid photohraphs to understand his current situation and what he is doing.

Leonard is portrayed by Guy Pearce as a strange and curious man who uses a series of notes (on Polaroids) and tattoos to help him deal with his condition and track down his wife’s killer, Pearce is excellent in his role here giving us a startling performance as a mysterious and damaged character. His tattoos include a series of clues or ‘facts’ revealing information about his wife’s killer and his notes are attached to images of various common characters and places to help him remember them.

The film explores a number of complex and equally as mysterious characters such as Natalie portrayed by Carrie-Anne Moss, she according to Leonard’s note will ‘help him out of pity’ and although she originally takes advantage of his condition, manipulating him for her own amusement, she then seemingly develops a genuine want to help him on his quest to track down his wife’s killer.

Teddy Gammell is another key character and possibly the most mysterious in the film, even after the film has finished you’ll be thinking long after just what Teddy’s motives were and what of what he says is actually true? He is portrayed by Joe Pantoliano (he had also worked with Carrie-Anne Moss the previous year in The Matrix) who gives a great performance as a character that is constantly involved as the mystery unfolds, we are constantly changing our thoughts and opinions of the character who shares an important relationship with Leonard, we know that the more we find out regarding the identity of Teddy and what are his intentions then the closer we get to uncovering the truth regarding Leonard.

*Possible ending spoilers in next paragraph*

The ending leaves the absorbing mystery is seemingly unsolved and its lasting affect on the viewer will almost definitely be felt after viewing as you try yourself to put together the pieces of the puzzle you’ve just watched, to attempt to work out the truth. Are Leonard’s versions of the past to be trusted? Is Sammy Jankis really who Leonard says he is? Or is Leonard simply creating his own puzzle to keep his mind occupied, destroying information that he wants to forget and creating his own clues to work with.

Memento is an enthralling and absorbing tale, a mysterious world filled with a mixture of mysterious characters, a puzzle displayed to us by Nolan, made in such a way that you’ll be both fascinated and confused by what you’ve just seen come the film’s end. Whilst some may find it uninteresting and confusing but the film is meant to be confusing and you must focus and take in every detail of the puzzle, you have to sit back and appreciate Nolan’s work, he’s been creative in his idea for the film, it’s unique, fresh and above all engaging. A must watch for any mystery fans.

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