The movie was my selection but I don't watch movies the same way many of you do so I'm sure I won't do the initial review justice as I don't watch with an analytical lens too often, replies are more my forte. I shall do my best.
The movie begins and ends with De Niro, masterful doesn't do his performance justice. He is especially strong in the first half of the movie when he is awkward and uncomfortable. He is incredibly believable as the awkward quiet loner who as the viewer you always know is going to explode. The degree of difficulty in playing the 6 out of 10 crazy person is so much more than when he goes full tilt. He's great full tilt too but the whole first half he really pulls you in knowing he will inevitably snap.
Two great scenes in his breakdown- 1st the phone call after the date to the porno theater- I personally found it strange that the camera pans over into an empty hallway during the conversation but knew it had to mean something so I looked it up. Apparently Scorcese has called this shot the most important of the film as he says it's as if we can't bear to watch Travis' pain of rejection.
Second scene that made me think instantly was when he asked advice of veteran cabbie the Wizard. Travis knew he was on the verge and was beginning to worry about himself. Wizard's advice was to basically get out of his own head and accept that everyone is fucked up. Travis of course did the opposite and dove deeper into his own shit. This is also the first time I noticed the other cabbies began to call him Killer. Was this representative of the feelings toward Vietnam during the era or foreshadowing that the other guys knew he was kinda fucked up. Probably both.
This was my second viewing the first being about 2 years ago and I completely forgot that Travis survived and was hailed as a hero. His "cleansing" attack and survival certainly had an impact on his confidence and well being, though he still seemed like he was only marginally better than his awkwardness from the beginning but happier. I'm guessing Travis probably discovered some purpose in his attack and began making vigilante style attacks to clease his filthy city.
My only complaint is it felt like it was slow to get going-alot of quiet driving and introspection, then again I make similar complaints for movies that don't take the time to build on characters.
I didn't even mention Albert Brooks or Cybil Shepherd who were both great in their parts- Cybil used to be pretty hot. I'll give it an A-