God's Lonely Man

God's Lonely Man ★★

Cheap and coarse re-purposing of Taxi Driver. A wandering man, plagued with dark thoughts and desires (which seem to stem from some sickly undercurrent of society) falls further and further from the path of righteousness that he believes himself to be on. Each selfless act that he engages with only leads to more violence and damage to himself and those around him. The unstoppable force of nihilism, leaving good will nothing but a trembling memory.

It's unclear how much the film really wants to explore any of the themes or the half-baked philosophies that the protagonist spews. Instead it seems to be wearing these ideas like a cheap costume, yet unlike the wave of Taxi Driver imitations and low-grade serial killer studies out there, the mask continuously slips, revealing an inability to work with these themes, to transform them beyond weightless exposition.

Whilst much of the film is framed and photographed with skill and poise, its the substance within that lets it down. It's a simple enough premise, fueled by the troubled fury of Travis Bickle, and yet rather than pushing this narrative into a new field (the 1990s and what this decade means for the drifters, the forgotten and the aimless teens) it constantly falls back upon weary homage and pastiche. So much so that it seems the lead is actually doing an impression of De Niro at times.

Perhaps the way to view this is as some kind of run-off of Taxi Driver, the aftershock of Travis Bickle, it appears to be like its predecessor but its in no way as effective, shocking or dramatic and at best is only able to echo what was said before. A shame because it starts off so close to something interesting.

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