Loneliness may seem an unusual topic for film: it doesn't sound very dramatic or, for that matter, enticing. A universal theme, loneliness is crucial to the feeling of numerous films, from existentialist arthouse cinema to more commercially minded romances or comedies. It takes in psychotic loners, elderly widowers, confused teenagers and everyone else besides. As David Lean said: "I think loneliness is in all of us; it is a more common emotion than love, but we speak less about it.''
Filmmakers often use similar strategies to portray the emotion: people eating or drinking alone, isolating framing devices, use of a diminishing long shot and empty spaces, and a dragging out of narrative time. Taxi Driver uses a number of these methods. In a film driven by loneliness, Travis's separation from society, his inability to make connections.