Aug 20, 2020 in Review

Taxi Driver and Grass: The History of Marijuana

The Main Character in Taxi Driver in Terms of his Goals, Actions, and Consequences of His Actions

Taxi Driver is the fifth motion picture by Martin Scorsese that has become truly iconic to the American cinema. The film is a symbol of the second half of the 1970s, where Scorsese raises the theme of the Vietnam War and its consequences despite the fact that this issue was not raised publicly at that time.

The smoke of factory chimneys, dim light lamps, skyscrapers characterize New York City of the new time. Sociopathic Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle (De Niro’s character) drives his taxi, and the gloomy view of human sin turns before him. Considering himself a prophet, he hopes that one day the sky will pour with saving rain thus cleaning out New York City’s mud. When hope dies, only hate remains. Rain of fire will fall upon the wicked heads of sinners. The taxi driver takes care of this issue.

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The character of Robert De Niro is a lonely 26-year-old man slowly losing his mind. Suffering from chronic insomnia, Bickle starts working as a night taxi driver in New York City. He also attends the pornographic cinema. These trips are filmed in such a way that gives the viewer an opportunity to feel the protagonist’s fatal loneliness and his inner detachment from people who are behind the glass of his car windows. Dirt and lust do not leave the hero indifferent. Travis lives in the world without any values that would support him. The main character hates dirt and depravity of the city that he is forced to observe while driving. He hates people with their wrongdoing. Passengers of his taxi prove him right convincing Travis that his negative view is justified. The driver gets a hope to lead a normal life when he meets Betsy (played by Cybill Shepherd), who works on the election campaign. Travis convinces her to go out with him. However, due to his mental illness, he invites Betsy to watch porn movies and loses any chance of developing good relations with her. Because of his failure, the psychosis amplifies. Travis is going to kill the senator whose election campaign is run by Betsy. He buys four guns. In one of the most famous scenes in De Niro’s career, his character stands in front of the mirror and trains to quickly extract the hidden gun.

When Travis is going to kill the senator, everything becomes entangled. He gets into a gunfight with the pimp of a girl called Iris (Jodie Foster), whom the driver persuades to give up prostitution and go back to school. Travis is badly injured, but survives the shooting. He becomes a hero who has saved the girl from the pimp. The driver gets a letter from her parents expressing their gratitude. In one of the best roles in his career, Robert De Niro shows what can happen to a man who loses the connection with reality. Scorsese enabled the viewers to travel with Travis, whose loss of mind is inevitable.

Travis has deep feelings but loses himself and his own abilities in the emptiness of the metropolis. Not the war but the society made him such a dejected and apathetic person. He cannot overcome himself and join the hypocritical, deceitful, depraved and criminal city life. The war has only developed a new world outlook in Travis. Events force him to think about his mission, the meaning of life, and the country where he lives and works.

Even though the viewers may call Travis a hero, all the actions he undertook have not help him to overcome madness and other mental health issues. Moreover, the driver’s accomplishments do not bring him full satisfaction and recognition that he has changed the world for better.

Grass: The History of Marijuana and the Effectiveness of the Documentary’s Presentation

Marijuana is one of the most popular drugs in the world that has become the so-called remedy for stress. It caused numerous controversies in the 20th century. Although young people, artists, musicians have been smoking this drug for many years discerning no adverse effects, most governments continue to criticize and attack consumers. Grass: The History of Marijuana is a landmark documentary that depicts one of the most pressing issues of the 20th century – the use, distribution, and criminalization of marijuana.

A famous actor and activist Woody Harrelson is the main narrator who responds to the deeply rooted myth about the evilness of cannabis using a spiritual, creative, and innovative approach. The documentary is presented in such a way in order to demonstrate the vision of the problem from a personal perspective. The director Ron Mann uses the historical experience and filming skills to share valuable information on the controversial drug that has always been regarded as a threatening substance leading to consumption of hard drugs and development of severe addiction. The insightful screenplay, editing, and impressive songs performed by the remarkable musicians of that time indicate the high production value promoted by the director. The documentary is effectively directed and produced as it depicts the real terrible losses, people’s lives wasted while in prison, and billions of dollars spent on waging the drug war that cannot be won.

Grass: The History of Marijuana explores the official policy developed by the government in regard to the immediate criminalization of cannabis. The documentary details the deplorable history of the war fought by the U.S. government against marijuana in the 20th century. The immigration of Mexicans and their supposed relation to drug abuse have always concerned the American officials. Therefore, the federal policy promoting criminalization of cannabis is wrong and subjective as it is usually associated with an increase in crime rate. The approach to public health seems to be more effective than the one related to drug policy. Most of the actions taken today are unreasonable due to opportunism, propaganda, and bias. Behind the fight against drugs, there is a futile and costly attack on marijuana whose harmful effects are questionable. This policy has already damaged the basic civil rights and freedoms of people.

The documentary is presented in such a way to reflect the history of the hemp plant since its unofficial introduction. The criminalization of marijuana has been at the core of the campaigns organized by the leading parties. Through the film, Mann seeks to debunk myths and popular beliefs leading to the substance’s illegality. In the 1950s, much of marijuana came from China, so, the U.S. officials widely used anti-communist messages to affect the communities nationwide.

The documentary was created in 1999, and it contains informative images of notable personalities including actors Woody Harrelson and Chevy Chase, as well as former President George W. Bush. Viewers become aware of the fact that the government and several major corporations deliberately misinform the public about marijuana. For many years, the government has put an emphasis on the harmful effects of cannabis without mentioning its medical benefits. The movie is aimed at informing the public about the common misconception about the drug and at the dissemination of information on its health benefits. The film also features the historical moments when marijuana was outlawed in the United States, and numerous campaigns against cannabis carried out by the government when social groups questioned the validity of the officials’ claims. In the end, Grass: The History of Marijuana offers information on how the American government developed anti-communist sentiments against China as one of the major suppliers of the substance.

The film shows how the public can easily believe in a well said lie and consider it to be the truth. The money spent on combating marijuana could be allocated for the establishment of a universal health care system to make the nation healthy and address its needs. The U.S. war on cannabis and the systematic policy of misinformation have wasted billions of tax dollars. Movie enthusiasts have rated the documentary with the highest score as it discloses the important information on the drug and points out to the public the misconception about marijuana’s danger.

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