Movie #43 2020: A Taxi Driver (2017)

All I can do when I think about A Taxi Driver is sigh. For me, it is an almost perfect movie.

Sadly, this is a Korean movie that seems to have garnered very few online reviews. IMDb records only 12,000, whilst the Letterboxd community states that under 10,000 users have marked this movie as ”watched”. Simply, that is not enough.

If there was ever a foreign language film that deserved to be watched after Parasite, it’s this.

The poster (as pictured above) gave me the impression that this was a comedy, but boy, I was wrong. I did not expect half of this shit to go down, and the viewer slowly comes to realise that this is a serious, heart-warming yet heart-wrenching, historical and social drama.

”Based on true events” (which usually pisses me right off for lack of originality), A Taxi Driver seems so fresh upon viewing. Set in 1980s Gwangju for the most part, this is the tale of a taxi driver from Seoul who is humbly trying to make a living in order to support his daughter, and somehow gets caught up in the ongoing uprising that is occurring there at the time. ”Never heard of it”, you say. Well, neither had I, but afterwards you will feel nothing but shame for not knowing about it in the first place. This is a story that deserves to be told, and one that unfortunately is not remembered by Western history books almost at all.

I have to warn you: this is not a short film. But it doesn’t matter. There is a lot of ground to cover here, but I can assure you that I was not bored for one second of it. Once again, Asian cinema manages to master storytelling in the finest of manners, and you will feel like a changed person after watching it.

Not only is the storytelling pure excellence, the whole range of human emotion can be felt. I for one was emotionally attached to no less than four of the characters before the film’s closing sequences, and Song Kang-Ho (who most of you will know from Parasite and 2013’s Snowpiercer) is utter perfection once again.

In conclusion: I have no choice but to give this movie 5 s.

Maybe you came to this review because you love cars, and you’re looking to fill the void left by F9‘s delayed release. Well guess what, there’s a high speed taxi chase in this movie that will delight you.

Who needs Nos and a neon green Subaru when you have a legion of kindhearted taxi drivers outrunning the bad guys?

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