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Compare the movies 'Taxi Driver' and 'Manhattan'

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Introduction

Compare the movies 'Taxi Driver' and 'Manhattan' Rarely does one find a film that so powerfully grips its viewers. Rarer still when two films do so with the same subject at heart: New York City. Through Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' and Woody Allen's 'Manhattan', we gain a fascinating insight into the 'City That Never Sleeps'. From the gritty alleyways overcast by the gleaming skyscrapers we explore one city that remains two worlds apart. New York is ruled by time and 'Manhattan' is no exception. Like a typical New Yorker, Woody Allen understands this all too well and swiftly takes us on a tour of the city. At first, we observe a quiet street transform into a bustling market. From then on, the party begins as we join in a parade and sit back whilst fireworks light up the night sky over a momentous event at the Yankee stadium. Allen pulls out all the stops to reel us in with a montage that doesn't fail to impress. How could we possibly resist? Our grand tour from the rooftops of 'Manhattan' takes a death defying fall into a cab in the pouring rain in 'Taxi Driver'. ...read more.

Middle

Unlike 'Manhattan', the film's protagonist, played by award winning actor Robert De Niro, soon becomes the backbone of the film. As a result we're coaxed into seeing the world through his eyes, with blinkers firmly fixed throughout. The selection of shots in 'Manhattan' and 'Taxi Driver' are integral in enforcing different perceptions of New York. Allen successfully executes this in 'Manhattan' as he provides a platform that encourages us to look at the bigger picture and ignore those minor imperfections. However, at times he overloads us with the squeaky clean image of New York that distances the film from the viewer at times. Allen tackles this by moving quickly so we have little time to question his motives or intentions. On the other hand, 'Taxi Driver' keeps our feet firmly on the ground and hides no shame in the problems that plague such a big city. It suffers too from a lain 'Manhattan'. But all is forgiven as De Niro's character provides a credible reason for entering such a dark underworld. Oddly, it is an underworld home to millions of people from all corners of the globe. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'Manhattan', Allen has cleverly balanced a dramatic display of the city with some normality which is evident through the extras and actor's voiceover. This gives us the feeling that New York is not too-good-to-be-true after all. However as the actors' direction in 'Manhattan' personifies the city, 'Taxi Driver' dehumanizes New York and the prostitutes that are seen as "animals". Both directors use their actors to commanding effect in subtle ways less obvious than the pompous music in 'Manhattan' or dim lighting in 'Taxi Driver'. Everyone wants a chunk of the Big Apple. And this desire is realized in 'Manhattan' through Allen's masterful depiction of New York City. His manipulation of picture, music, lighting and timing so effortlessly come together and result in a hypnotic intro oozing with confidence and charm. But Allen fails to crack through the toffee coating that conceals the maggot infested apple within. 'Taxi Driver' paints a very different picture of New York. Scorsese's cinematography creates an equally powerful impression. However, he candidly confronts our misconceptions of New York, and what better way to do so but through the eyes of a demented cabbie? It seems the Big Apple just got big-headed in 'Manhattan' but for a city that even the media shy away from, it just isn't big enough. ...read more.

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