"Postmodern Antihero: Capitalism and Heroism in Taxi Driver" Bright Lights Film Journal 47 (2005).
The author of this article compares Taxi Driver to a number of other film genres, as it combines elements of noir, the Western, horror, and urban melodrama. Iannucci believes Travis’s lack of a distinct identity compels him to compose an exoteric identity which is externally influenced by personalities such as the “gunslinger” and the Indian. In reality, what Travis Bickle does is create a postmodern antiheroic identity that is nostalgic and pop culture oriented. The author argues that Travis employs a Western-style philosophical approach to life by solving a complex contemporary problem with an individual solution. The film’s climactic ending shows how absurd the Western idealistic depiction of heroism is because the media in the film not only ignores Travis’s actions but also glorifies a psychopathic killer as a noble citizen. According to Iannucci, Travis’s search for vengeance under the guise of violence makes him an antihero because it is more insane than courageous. In addition, Scorsese’s camerawork is discussed as he implies characters’ ambiguities and complexities with the use of editing and odd framing angles. Scorsese uses dissolve sequence to create a deformity that permits the viewer to understand Travis’s consciousness and point of view.
Although Travis lives in the city, he stands bent by his own loneliness and trapped by his own isolation because he cannot seem to connect with anyone on a personal level. The value of this article is that it allows the violence of a film like Taxi Driver to be understood a little deeper as it dwells into the psyche of Travis Bickle. Travis’s contradictory intentions are confusing because he attempts to rid the city of violence by committing the ultimate act of violence, which is murder. His logic is irrational and circular as his solution suggest that violence is the only answer to alienation and loneliness. Travis takes it upon himself to play the role of Iris’s protector and save her from the evil realms of prostitution. His “antiheroic” actions stem from the need to save Iris and perhaps impress Betsy, thus, giving his life a “sense of direction”.