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WJEC AS Film Studies FM2 US Cinema Comparative Study: Taxi Driver and No Country for Old Men

Rob Miller | Monday September 07, 2015

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS AS, FM2, Section C: US Film Comparative Study, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, American, No Country for Old Men, Hollywood Films, Taxi Driver, Genres & Case Studies, Crime, Drama, Thriller, Hot Entries

FM2 British and American Film Section C: US Cinema Comparative Study

For further details of assessment requirements and past Section C exam questions, please go to FilmEdu’s Gilda (1946) and L.A Confidential (1997) Comparative Case Study  and FilmEdu’s Minority Report and Blade Runner Comparative Study for other comparison resources.

Taxi Driver

Like No Country for Old Men, Taxi Driver is a film about nihilism – with 31 years between them both films have characters that reject underpinning established rules of law in pursuit of an ultimate individualism. Both films have characters who possess a total self belief based upon their mistrust of the world that they live in (interestingly in the book of ‘No Country for Old Men’ Anton Chigurh is an alien) and have no respect for authority and the basic institutions of society – Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro and Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem decide to do things their own way reflecting intense hyper real representations of masculinity found in early Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns like A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and later in films like Chinatown (1974) and The Departed (2006), both starring the iconic Hollywood actor, Jack Nicholson. Anton’s masculinity is compared to the ‘long in the tooth’ Sheriff, played by Tommy Lee Jones who hunts him.

Both films borrow heavily from the genre conventions of the western and on one level are films about men – Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver follows his own moral code and decides ultimately to go on a one man rampage ‘wiping the scum clean from the streets of New York’ – he is a Vietnam veteran who has returned from a war that has scarred and changed his perception of life. He is no longer ‘normal’ and cannot reconcile himself to the world he lives in after getting a job as a taxi driver. Travis sees little meaning in his existence and comes to believe modern life is meaningless, and being embittered and...

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