A Taxi Driver can over-reach towards its final chase sequences, which enter the realm of fantasy, but they’re not enough to de-rail this fine film.
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The film climaxes with a breathless escape from Gwangju, as Kim and Hinzpeter elude government vehicles with the aid of other cabdrivers. But most impressive is Mr. Song, who persuasively conveys a working stiff’s political awakening.
While the film clearly taps into the national zeitgeist, buoyed by a sweeping show of people’s power that ousted the president, international audiences should also appreciate the actors’ feisty turns.
Grafting the buddy picture onto the framework of the classic political thriller, director Jang Hoon also manages to find time for lighter moments of human comedy, and those seemingly disparate elements are deftly navigated by Song and his fellow fully dimensional characters.
A Taxi Driver is a Korean epic, a tipping point in the history of South Korea. A little old-fashioned and a touch melodramatic, it’s still a compelling Korean “Year of Living Dangerously.”
In unexpected and wonderfully satisfying ways, A Taxi Driver taps into the symbiotic relationship between foreign correspondents and locals, particularly in times of crisis.
Song's performance makes me wish the rest of A Taxi Driver was as thoughtful.