Happy Tuesday everyone!
Two weeks ago I had the good fortune, (or poor fortune depending on your perspective) of finally seeing “The Fifth Element.” Bruce Willis played the title character, Korben Dallas, who made his living as a taxi driver. Though his onscreen turn as a driver really only extended to a few scenes and he spent the rest of the movie kicking ass and taking names, it got me thinking about how taxi workers are often portrayed in film
Let’s forget about that Scorsese film with cheese and apple pie and young Jodie Foster turning tricks and look at other movie depictions. One example of a movie depiction that came to mind was Benny in “Total Recall.” (I’m referring of course to only one worth watching). Benny was a street wise driver who (spoiler alert for those living in 1990) didn’t hesitate to stab Arnie in the back before his untimely demise And then there is the less memorable snippet of a driver in “Old School” who belittles Owen Wilson’s character’s concern over no seat belt in the backseat before driving in a manner with quick starts and stops.
Too often this is the stereotypical depiction of movie taxi drivers. They hail from gritty areas and will do almost anything for a dollar. “Wait here” and a wad of cash from passenger almost always results in the driver snickering as they drive off.
Don’t get me wrong, there are honest depictions of taxi drivers which slightly more accurately depict the working life of a driver. A poster child for honest taxi drivers, (at least in recent memory) is Jamie Foxx’s character Max in “Collateral.” Before Tom Cruise begins his murderous rampage around the city, we see a montage of Max prepping his cab (which he rents and does not own) before driving around looking for fares. He takes pride in his work, and works diligently to make a better life for himself.
It’s interesting to think about how the media shows taxi drivers and how those depictions might shape our perceptions of drivers in reality. Because at the end of the day they are real people just trying to earn a decent living.
L to R – Vincent (Tom Cuise) and Max (Jaime Foxx) and in “Collateral”