Friday, June 5, 2015

When Iris talked to Travis

There's an understated scene in Taxi Driver (1976) that shows the vulnerability of an anti-hero. Robert De Niro's iconic Travis Bickle meets Jodie Foster's nubile Iris in a shady hotel room. His intention is to save her from the pimp (Harvey Keitel) who is obviously misusing her innocence. The initial dialogues exchanged between Travis and Iris is not extraordinary. She is behaving with him the way she would with any other customer while he rejects all her advances. Logic doesn't dawn upon her until the moment he shoves her onto the couch. In a different universe, that's something a Prem Chopra or a Ranjeet would do before raping the hero's sister/wife/dog. But in this case, Travis is trying to do something right. After she gathers herself from the push, he tells her he's not like others and he REALLY wants to help her escape even though it isn't established whether she wants the same or not. However, he makes her promise him to have breakfast at 1am—prostitution doesn't agree with sunrise for a reason—the next day. Before he leaves the room, he walks back to her and introduces himself before cupping her left cheek complimenting "Sweet Iris" to her amused look. That also happens to be the sweetest moment in the movie, seconded by the final scene when he refuses to accept fare from Betsy before driving away into the night.

N.B. If you haven't watched this movie, you deserve whatever spoilers i (unintentionally) let out above.

No comments: