In this powerful true story set in 1980, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver from Seoul is hired by a foreign journalist who wants to go to the town of Gwangju for the day. They arrive to find a city under siege by the military government, with the citizens, led by a determined group of college students, rising up to demand freedom. What began as an easy fare becomes a life-or-death struggle in the midst of the Gwangju Uprising, a critical event in the history of modern South Korea.
What We Thought:
I wasn’t familiar with the story in A Taxi Driver and it’s pretty interesting. It’s a story about friendship, history, politics and life.
A taxi driver in Korea is behind on rent. He has a daughter he is raising alone. He needs to make more money and hears of a foreigner needing a ride to Gwangju who is willing to pay big money. The taxi driver sees this as his way out of trouble, but soon realizes the German man is a journalist and the trip will be much more dangerous than thought. As they find themselves in a situation they don’t want to be in, they bond and form a friendship that helps them get out.
With riots, young people clashing with the government, and political chaos, the film could have taken place in today’s world. Almost 40 years later, the story is still relevant. The taxi driver wasn’t out to be a hero, he just needed a big paying gig and yet finds himself helping to change the political climate of his country.
That’s one thing people should take away from the film, the slightest thing can cause the biggest solution. By simply driving the journalist and fighting to escape, the footage the journalist takes is shared around the world. They befriend locals who also help them in return. Even if you don’t set out to be a hero, you can be one regardless.
The ending of A Taxi Driver is the most shocking part. I won’t ruin it because it did surprise me. I was caught off guard by it and expected a much different ending. I actually like this real ending and not a fabricated one. If you are familiar with the story, the film is definitely recommended. If you are not, well you will learn something new.