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Taxi Driver

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    95
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Stunning audio-visuals & rich extras enhance this timeless, edgy classic.

    Taxi Driver 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    HDR10
    Dolby Vision
    DTS-HD MA
  • Video
    95
  • The digital restoration impeccably preserves the film's grain and authenticity, enhancing visual clarity and color gamut while maintaining natural black levels, making for a consistently vibrant and true-to-source viewing experience.

  • Audio
    91
  • The audio mix offers natural, clear dialogue and a full, engaging experience, though it reuses the DTS-HD 5.1 from 2013, resulting in occasional muddiness and a lack of Atmos or DTS:X refinements.

  • Extra
    95
  • The collection includes 20 HD animated/short films and special editions with extensive extras, featuring notable works like 'Taxi Driver' by Scorsese, exclusive to Columbia Classics Vol. 2.

  • Movie
    96
  • Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver' offers profound depth through simple camerawork and Bickle's dark journey, only available in Sony's 'Columbia Classics Collection' Vol. 2.

    Video: 95

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of "Taxi Driver" highlights an exceptional restoration effort that adheres closely to the source material's integrity while introducing a vivid upgrade to its visual dynamics. The transfer navigates the delicate balance of maintaining the original film grain, crucial for preserving the cinematic aura of the era, and enhancing clarity and detail. Specific attention has been paid to ensuring that grain remains fine and flattering, avoiding the pitfall of overly aggressive treatment which could detract from the authentic film quality. This meticulous approach to grain ensures that the image retains its intended gritty aesthetic, reminiscent of its initial 35mm presentations, but with an evenness and consistency that's laudable, especially considering the variable quality often associated with 16mm film stock.

    Dolby Vision HDR significantly elevates the viewing experience, with the wider color gamut and enhanced brightness levels injecting a new vitality into the 1.85:1 aspect ratio image. This not only augments the visual allure with more dynamic and energy-laden scenes but also enriches the portrayal of the nighttime urban landscape with deeper and more profound black levels. These black levels are particularly noteworthy, as they are both natural and intensely rich, offering a solidity to the contrast that considerably enhances the depth and realism of on-screen colors. This aspect is paramount in scenes requiring stark differentiation between light and shadow, thus contributing extensively to the atmospheric and moody visual storytelling that "Taxi Driver" is renowned for.

    The preservation of this classic film’s visual integrity, while injecting a fresh breath of life into its appearance on screen, embodies a rare and spectacular consistency in film restoration and transfer practices. The balance struck between respecting the original filmic texture and leveraging modern enhancement technology like HDR demonstrates a nuanced understanding of digital restoration ethics and techniques. This handling crafts a viewing experience that not just pays homage to its origins but elevates it into a contemporary viewing context without sacrificing its gritty, visceral impact.

    Audio: 91

    The audio presentation of the "Taxi Driver" 4K UHD Blu Ray maintains a largely natural dialogue delivery, predominantly centered from the front speakers. However, it's not without its shortcomings; there are moments where the audio becomes slightly muddled, especially noticeable with Travis’ dialogue where the high end seems to taper off unexpectedly. This occasional lack of clarity in the dialogue could detract from an otherwise immersive experience for keen-eared viewers. On the technical side, Sony opted not to innovate with the latest surround sound technologies such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X, instead choosing to port over the existing DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack that has accompanied the film since its Blu-ray release in 2013. This decision leaves the audio feeling somewhat dated and lacks the spatial refinement that modern audio formats offer.

    While the choice to stick with the DTS-HD 5.1 mix may seem a step back for audio enthusiasts anticipating an upgrade, it’s not without its merits. The mix exhibits remarkable mid-range distinction and clarity, ensuring that vocals stand out with precision against the backdrop of the film's score and sound effects. The lower frequencies are also well represented, providing a substantial balance to the film’s more visually arresting moments. Yet, it's tough to overlook the overall presentation's critique as "messy, imprecise, and coarse," indicating a mix that often struggles to deliver a consistently high-quality auditory experience.

    Despite these criticisms, there are elements within the audio mix that deserve praise. The mix manages to engage with its emphasis on vocal clarity, depth in sound effects, and the expansive touch it brings to Bernard Herrmann's haunting score. These aspects collectively contribute to an immersive listening experience when they manage to overcome the aforementioned challenges. Nonetheless, the absence of a more modern audio update in this release may leave some audiophiles yearning for a version of "Taxi Driver" that fully utilizes today's advanced audio technologies to bring Scorsese’s vision to life with even greater intensity.

    Extra: 95

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray presentation of "Taxi Driver" is a treasure trove for cinephiles, rich in both quantity and quality of extras. It not only retains all the special features from the 2016 bonus Blu-ray disc but also introduces new supplements to deepen the viewer's understanding and appreciation of this cinematic masterpiece. The collection includes a wide range of short films from the Columbia Pictures library, presented in stunning high definition. Among these, viewers can enjoy works like "Umpa" and "The Three Stooges: Disorder In The Court." Moreover, this edition boasts a commentary from Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader, originally featured on the Criterion disc, offering invaluable insights into the film's creation. Notably, this edition is exclusive to the Columbia Classics Collection: Volume 2, making it a must-have for serious collectors and fans of Scorsese's oeuvre.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Making Taxi Driver: A comprehensive behind-the-scenes look.
    • Intro to Storyboards by Martin Scorsese: Scorsese's personal insights.
    • Storyboard to Film Comparison: A visual analysis.
    • Galleries: A collection of HD stills and artwork.
    • Trailer: The original promotional material.
    • Audio Commentaries: Insights from Scorsese and Schrader.
    • Short/Animated Films from Columbia Pictures: Including titles like "Umpa" and "The Three Stooges: Disorder in The Court".

    Movie: 96

    In an introspective dive into the "Taxi Driver," presented in an impeccable 4K UHD Blu Ray format exclusive to the second volume of Sony's esteemed 'Columbia Classics Collection,' the film reveals itself not only through its pristine visual fidelity but through the intricate layers of its protagonist, Travis Bickle. Martin Scorsese, the film's heralded director, emphasizes the significance of Bickle’s internal turmoil with subtle yet impactful directorial choices. A notable moment is captured during Bickle's painfully awkward phone call to Betsy, where the camera unassumingly drifts away, focusing on an empty corridor. This technique, as Scorsese suggests, is a deliberate attempt to underscore the discomfort and isolation experienced by Bickle, painting a vivid picture of his escalating alienation and disintegration.

    The release, exclusive as part of Sony's 'Columbia Classics Collection' Volume 2, offers viewers a chance to explore the depth of "Taxi Driver" with unmatched clarity. However, it is the profound narrative and character study that stands out, remaining enduringly powerful and resonant. The exploration of Travis Bickle’s psyche, through nuanced storytelling and sophisticated cinematography, offers an unflinching look into a deteriorating mental state. His journey, punctuated by his oscillation between the desire to connect and eruptive violence, is reflected in the meticulously framed shots—each serving as a window into his conflicted soul.

    Viewers and critics alike may be drawn to the film's iconic lines and its visceral portrayal of New York City's underbelly, but it is the subtle details and the profound thematic exploration that truly enrich the experience. The simple yet evocative camerawork invites a deeper understanding of Bickle's existential crisis. The open door in one of the key scenes represents not only a physical exit but also a metaphorical crossroad for Bickle, encapsulating his inner conflict and foreboding choices. This 4K UHD Blu Ray rendition does more than present a visual feast; it beckons a revisitation to the complex layers that constitute one of cinema's most compelling character studies.

    Total: 95

    The 4K UHD Blu-Ray release of "Taxi Driver" showcases an outstanding visual and auditory experience that remains a testament to its enduring legacy. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track enhances the viewing experience with well-separated channels and robust bass, complementing the film's gritty visuals and intense thematic content. This audio fidelity, unchanged from previous releases, continues to receive high marks for its quality. Additionally, the collection of supplementary materials is carried over unchanged but remains an invaluable resource for fans and cinephiles, underscoring the film’s significance in American cinema.

    "Taxi Driver" stands as a masterwork of American political angst and lower-class anxieties, preserving its power through uncomfortable authenticity and a compelling narrative that resonates with audiences even today. The 4K Ultra-HD presentation of the film does justice to its director's commitment to film preservation and restoration, offering viewers an unparalleled visual feast that highlights the meticulous attention to detail in every frame. Despite the lack of new audio or supplemental changes, the existing array of bonuses provides a deep dive into the film's production, impact, and legacy.

    In conclusion, the 4K UHD Blu-Ray of "Taxi Driver" is an essential addition to the collection of any cinephile or fan of the film. Its superior audiovisual presentation, combined with a rich collection of supplemental materials, ensures that this release not only pays homage to the classic film but also offers comprehensive insights into its creation and enduring relevance. This package reaffirms "Taxi Driver's" status as a cinematic landmark, making it highly recommended for both newcomers and longtime admirers seeking to experience Scorsese's masterpiece in its most definitive form.