Doesn't quite skirt 4 stars, but in some ways I like this more than 'Taxi Driver'. It's clearly the work of an older, more self-reflective writer and director. Flannery O’Connor once wrote to her friend Betty Hester: “All my stories are about the action of grace on a character who is not very willing to support it, but most people think of these stories as hard, hopeless and brutal.” Grace is hard here, but tender.
Owes a debt to "Taxi Driver" but charts it's own anxiety-ridden, sleep deprived, manic path. Cage is completely in tune with Scorsese's 4:00 in the morning, roaming the streets, desperately looking for release or redemption mentality. Cage plunges into an abyss of insane despair. Each new scene portrays a fresh level of Hell. Feels like the hallucinatory last gasp of old New York. Aggressive, rock 'n' roll riffing.
The once-raw and gritty aesthetic of this waking nightmare in Hell's Kitchen has faded, leaving this a leathery side of well-done. The soundtrack is both monotonous and inappropriate (with certain moments feeling like a Meg Ryan rom-com) and the aesthetic feels like a late-90s music video. That being said, the performances have mostly kept well and the overall poetry of the film still stands.
Probably Scorsese's most underrated film. And considering the collaboration of all those involved, that's rather confusing. Yes, it's a spiritual successor to Taxi Driver, but since when is that a bad thing? BotD has some of Scorsese's most beautiful cinematography (partially thanks to Dante Ferretti), bolstered by Schrader's religious wit and some great performances, especially by Cage and Rhames (and Cliff Curtis!)
This film is like Taxi Driver for ambulance drivers but Nicolas Cage isn't on the same level as Robert De Niro. Although Scorsese plays on Cage's craziness to extract a good performance that adds to the rest of the insanity in the film. Another great supporting cast brought to you by the maestro himself.
Curious medical noir carried by Nicholas Cage's brutal performance as a kind of bozo Kafka, along with a slew of other great late 90s performances. Really enjoyed the scenes with the dealer. This movie has some pretty oppressive "race problems". The film never seems to decide on a tone, or its alteration of tones cannot carry through. Split between Nic Cage sob story and weirdo style exercise and hurts for it.
Scorsese & Schrader worked one last time in this fever dream about a paramedic struggling to keep his sane while seeing visions of his past. Cage really gives an intense performance of his career along with the supporting cast, also featured a great soundtrack and superb filmmaking. Not to mention there's a few nods to TAXI DRIVER as well. Powerful and underrated gem by Scorsese.