Raging Bull Reviews
Robert Deniro was phenomenal as Jake LaMotta, breathing new life to a character in ways that made his performance really astonishing back then. He got in shape to play a boxer and then put on a hulking amount of weight to play his has-been alter-ego in the later part. I really like how Deniro acts against Joe Pesci as his brother, who by the way, was Pesci's major film role that got him public recognition around the time when he was thinking of quitting on his acting career. Most of my favourite scenes are with Deniro and Pesci in the picture playing off as brothers.
Paul Schrader who wrote Taxi Driver gave the same raw, insightful treatment to the film as he did for Taxi driver. The screenplay was relentless, yet enticing to see in motion picture. His work had fleshed out the main character in ways that makes him real or at best interesting.
There are many problems with Jake LaMotta himself as a human being. He is angry, mean, ugly, judgmental, paranoid and violent worst of all. He has the rough aspect of being human such as perseverance and physicality. Jake LaMotta possesses no real redeeming qualities that would consider him a decent person in the eye of society. He even asked his ex-wife if he was that bad in real life after watching this film. She told him that he was worse.
I love the black and white cinematography for Raging Bull that gives it the mid-century. It also makes the film look more timeless, aging much better than if it was in colour. During the montage sequence that does feature colour, it is a cleaver form of storytelling without words that glamourizes LaMotta's life. How they film the boxing scenes were mesmerizing as far as how brutal and hyperbolic it appears. There are parts like the face of a boxer is bursting open with blood or how much smoke is brewing around them like they are descending to hell.
Now I hate it when people come into these films having fixed expectations and end up hating it. Raging Bull is not all about boxing since it is only a backdrop. It revolves around the character study of a man retaining an abusive lifestyle and paranoid oversights during his prime. And whatever I said earlier about Jake LaMotta was referring to him, not the actor playing him. Raging Bull is a masterpiece that easily stands out among others in that decade and is definitely on my top 3 best films by Scorsese.
Emotionally shattering drama about prizefighter Jake La Motta, who fought no worse enemy than himself. He slowly destroys his life by obsessive jealously. No movie has ever captured anger or jealously so beautifully on screen; some movie buffs (myself included) consider this to be the greatest film ever made. Full-bore, non-stop compelling direction plays viewer's emotions like a harp, delivering one painful scene after another, with dazzling (though brutal) boxing sequences. Opening is hypnotic, finale is perhaps the most devastating moment on celluloid. Robert De Niro gives the most devoted performance in movie history (he gained 60 pounds for the role). This masterpiece was also stunningly photographed and edited for maximum impact. Final note: Scene with De Niro and Pesci arguing in front of a broken TV is the single greatest acted scene ever.