Several styles of camerawork in Taxi Driver reveal Travis’s loneliness and his distance from society. Travis ( Robert De Niro) is often framed as the smallest object, with the cityscape of New York rising above him suggesting his own feelings of loneliness and isolation. After Travis applies to be a taxi driver, he walks out of the dispatcher garage, and as he does so, the camera pans from right to left across the screen as the cabs drive right, in the opposite direction. The other taxis seem to be going forward, in the direction we read and in the direction that picture narratives usually move. Travis walks the other way, and he is moving in the wrong direction even faster than the camera, so it takes a few moments for the camera to catch up to him. The shot indicates that something isn’t quite right about Travis. Something about him isn’t going the right way.
Scorsese has said he believes that the most important scene in Taxi Driver is the one showing Travis on a payphone in a hallway, trying to speak to Betsy. As this one-sided conversation takes place, the camera moves from Travis to a shot of an empty hallway around the corner. No people or motion fill the shot, and the hallway has no visual elements to attract the eye. This camera move prevents us from looking at Travis in his shame at losing Betsy, and the fact that neither participant in the phone conversation is visible conveys the fact that no real communication is taking place. The hallway suggests the path the film will take from this point on. Soon after this conversation, Travis changes from any lonely man to “God’s lonely man,” on a path toward what he views as his destiny—a path as straight and narrow as the hallway.
The film concludes with a overhead slow motion shot tracking across the room and down the corridor as a way of assessing the damage. The aftermath of carnage is visible as the camera dwells on the blood that splattered on the walls and the floor near Sport’s body. Travis has purged himself by killing this street scum, but his fate is unsettled and his ‘heroism’ is still in question. Immediately following the gunfire, Scorsese’s use of the overhead tracking shot invites the audience to retrace all of the events in slow motion. In effect, the camera permits the viewer to identify the scene in the aftermath where Travis will become a hero.
Hope this is interesting.