Raging Bull Reviews
This is a very visceral film and does not hold back on the language and violence used. Even tough the performance by De Niro is outstanding, I found it very difficult to connect with this film and kept losing interest. Considered to be one of the greatest films of all time and the best sports film of all time.
It tells the story of how boxer Jake La Motta nearly destroyed his life due to out of control anger issues and persistent sexual jealousy toward his wife. De Niro delivers the performance of his life (the massive weight gain is just a tiny part of it) and with Pesci to back him up, I can confidently say that no other film matches this one in terms of acting. Cathy Moriarty is also great as La Motta's victimized wife, and Frank Vincent's turn as Salvy foresees something about a shinebox. We can sympathize with Jake despite his rage and disgusting appetite, with his insecurities and frustration, with the mafia keeping the title out of his hand, while also seeing him for the repellent jerk he is.
Raging Bull is an editor's wet dream. It honestly might be the best edited film I've ever seen. The way the picture flows together seamlessly, making smart use of cuts or doing without them, adds to the technical marvel. Thelma Schoonmaker won a well deserved Oscar for her technique. The movie contains one of the greatest tracking shots of all time, in the championship title scene, as it follows La Motta from his dressing room all the way to the ring. This combined with a beautiful musical piece by composer Pietro Mascagni makes for raw emotion on steroids, and I'm not ashamed to say it made me weep. The cinematography of this film is a sight to behold thanks to Michael Chapman, who also shot Taxi Driver, and the black and white lens gives it a strange melancholy beauty.
Since redemption is a key feature of Scorsese's pictures we get an ambiguous ending here about the nature of Jake's rebirth. As he quotes Brando's famous speech from On the Waterfront, we wonder if he really does see the problems he caused or simply looking for someone else to blame.
While the film is bleak, it also has a tendency to be very funny at times. The dynamic and countless dialogue exchanges between De Niro and Pesci are comedy gold. I always burst out laughing at the scene where Jake loses his shit over a burnt steak, and again when he gets Joey to punch him in the face over and over again. And no other film could pull off a hilarious line like "your mother sucks fucking big fucking elephant dick" so well.
So in other words Raging Bull is a masterpiece and one that should be seen by everyone and seen again. A man that dies without seeing this film is not a man at all.
I completely bought into his performance, he really nailed the role. His behavior, his mannerisms, the way he spoke, carried himself. He basically turned himself into LaMotta. It was a bit uncomfortable watching him, felt like you wouldn't want to give this guy a wrong look or word. The person he portrayed was despicable, an animal, but it was done so well and so realistically, you gotta applaud him.
The flow of the story was just fine, biographical, going from point to point, it's the nature of biopics. It wasn't bad, but there's nothing else to say about it.
Joe Pesci did a great job as Jake's brother. Always love seeing this sharp little actor work his magic, even if a lot of his characters feel a little bit the same.
The music was beautiful, the black and white visuals worked well enough for me, the makeup was insanely good (Robert's looks from the beginning to the end of this movie were incredibly well done), a lot of great moody shots in this movie, and the casting was mostly really well done. The exception being the actress who played Vickie, whose character at the beginning of the movie was supposedly 15 years old. Looked way older. Heh, I guess this complaint kinda ties in with the story of Jake. Funny.
All in all, this movie didn't knock me out. I can recognize the artistic merit of this movie, but I didn't connect with it emotionally. And that's a bit weird, since I've boxed for almost all my teenage years. Still, a quality movie.
I know, I know, I know. Giving 'Raging Bull' anything less than a full five stars is blasphemy at its absolute worst, but hear me out. This is my first time viewing what many consider to be Martin Scorsese's masterpiece and, whilst I thought it was indeed very good, I can't say it moved me in quite the way many describe. The performances are undoubtedly excellent - both Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci do some of their best work here without a doubt. The direction from Scorsese, particularly in the boxing scenes, is also a total knockout (sorry...). The idea of a man so insecure with himself that boxing becomes almost a form of self-punishment - merely to try and prove to people that he should be respected - is definitely a compelling plot line. The truth is, this is just one of those movies that I didn't connect with as much as I would've liked. I always felt distanced from what was happening on screen, and rarely did the emotional scenes have me feeling emotional. I found the character of Jake LaMotta, much like Travis Bickle in 'Taxi Driver', hard to empathise with. On paper, everything is there, and the movie is most certainly good. But this is just one of those instances where film, being totally subjective, will appeal to some and not to others. And whilst I certainly admire 'Raging Bull', I can't say I was flawed by it.
Una obra maestra que muestra el lado más introspectivo de Martin Scorsese que plasma un notable trabajo fílmico, apoyado de una brillante interpretación de Robert de Niro.
Yes, its smart and tense equally but also is similar to the other installments of Martin and even though De Niro works hard in it, it's just exhausting in its final act.
The movie stars Robert De Niro as the boxer on topic, Jake LaMotta (the actual LaMotta wrote the book). DeNiro's performance is, in this reviewer's opinion one of the greatest pieces of acting ever staged, cinema or theatre. This is a perfect performance of total commitment by a very talented method actor who is at the top of his form here- once you watch this film- you will understand why DeNiro is so highly revered as an actor and why he and Scorsese worked together so often. The movie also stars Joe Pesci as LaMotta's brother in his first major role, and Cathy Moriarity as Vickie LaMotta, Jake's second wife. They are both fabulous here, credit DeNiro for discovering both actors.
The first scene after the opening credits (which is a brilliant summation of LaMotta's character) sets the tone of one half of this film. We see LaMotta in the ring- and he is competing in a bout. We see he is a very competent boxer- but he is terrifying to watch in action. In this bout (and most of the other bouts in this film), LaMotta doesn't just knock down and knock out his opponent- LaMotta mercilessly mauls and pummels the utter crap out of his opponent. When this happens- it's horrific and brutal; you really feel sorry for any person who comes across this guy. Then, the judges decide for some reason to hand the bout to LaMotta's opponent. The crowd disagrees, and then a riot ensues. Chairs, tables and other objects are thrown around and the scene becomes total pandemonium.
The next scene is set in LaMotta's Bronx apartment, where he lives with his first wife. He and his wife have a loud, violent argument over something as frivolous as how she cooked his steak. We then see Joey barely squeeze through the door which is kept in place by the dinner table overturned. LaMotta then assaults his wife. This sets the tone for the other half of the film.
The way I've written this review makes Jake LaMotta out to be a complete bastard. This is not the case. He has qualities that I believe redeem him in the common man's eyes. If he was a complete bastard, it would be harder for the audience to relate to this character. LaMotta is somehow aware of the fact that his behavior is not okay- and he feels really bad about it. This is exemplified by when he tells his brother to hit him to apparently prepare for an upcoming bout. Joey is reluctant, but Jake anatongizes Joey by slapping him in the face, and Joey's anger boils over and he starts punching Jake in the face.
Then, after a number of events over time, Jake divorces his first wife and marries a young girl named Vickie. Then, a number of violent events occur that alienate Joey and Vickie from Jake, and then, the film turns into a story of redemption. Jake is not happy with himself, and has not been since the movie began. He wants to change, and this is the start of his redemption.
The practicing Catholic Scorsese found a personal connection here through LaMotta's redemption, seeking forgiveness for his sins. Intitally he did not want to do this film, and he poured all his energies into making it- because he believed it would be the last film he would ever make. It wasn't Scorsese who wanted to make this film- it was DeNiro, and it took him 4 years to make it. He finally succeeded after he visited Scorsese in hospital after drug problems of some kind and said that they needed to adapt LaMotta's book into a film. And they ended up making one of the best films I've ever seen.
It is a biopic of former middleweight boxer Jake La Motta.
Based in the late 1940s era it is mainly shot in a grimy black and white image of films of the era.
I will be honest it took me a while to adapt to the celluloid atmosphere of the film but the acting of De Niro as the La Motta character was mesmerising.
He is like a time bomb ready to explode with paranoia at any time. Usually directed at those closest to him including his long suffering wife and brother played by Joe Pesci with a career best performance.
Unlike your average boxing film La Motta is no hero.
He wins the World Championship at middleweight roughly halfway through the film and goes on a downward spiral.
The viewer sees the descent from the pinnacle of his career to pawning his belt to try and raise funds to defend himself against a police charge.
He is seen aging badly. A mangled, overweight sight doing terrible acts in clubs to raise money.
The fight scenes themselves are very bloody and feature lots of splatter but I would say Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby has more brutal fight choreography.
Not your average three hour epic from director Martin Scorsese this film is just over two hours.