The moviemakers, director Martin Scorsese and scriptwriter Paul Schrader, have started with an old-style Warner Brothers working-man premise and tried to cram their learning into it: existentialist philosophy from Sartre and Camus, homages to Bresson's Pickpocket and Diary of a Country Priest, lyrical sketches of New York After Dark styled after undergrounders like Peter Goldman, and a gory suicidal shootout styled after Peckinpah. None of this learning, however, is injected into the seething, glazed-eyed principal character, a White Knight obsessed with ridding the city streets of human garbage. (Indeed, for all that's divulged about a cab driver's profession, the movie might as well be called Street Cleaner.) You never have to confront this slow-witted semi-literate's ideas as ideas, and you aren't given sufficient clues to figure out what makes him tick. The portrait of this character is enough to give you the creeps, but not much more. Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel. (1976) — Duncan Shepherd
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