Raging Bull Reviews
It is hard to say what exactly this film is "about". The narrative plot is straightforward enough, it follows the life of a 1940-50s boxer. The movie also explores many of the complex issues of violence against women and the psychological destruction of a man who cannot accept or understand intimacy. The real magic is that these issues are expressed through the warped psychological outbursts of De Niro's character. Everyone around LaMotto can see his problem, his unhealthy obsession and suspicion but he cannot help himself. The film finds its expression through the emotional immaturity of the lead character.
LaMotto cannot introspectively evaluate his emotions. His thought process is endlessly fascinating to watch as he warps any act of kindness or love into betrayal and distance. He lacks the emotional maturity or awareness to communicate his frustrations to words. The audience simply watches as any small act or suspicion is a window for him confirm what he wants most of all, confirmation that his partner is unfaithful and by extension he is, himself, unworthy. His hate is a profound one, not a hate of others or what he attacks, but a hatred of himself. Everyone around him senses it but LaMotto simply cannot.
The film delivers the signature eye for detail that made Scorsese famous. The boxing fight scenes are brilliant and brutal. The supporting cast is excellent.
Drama 40% Sport 60%
Gripping, brutal, well directed, and the best performance from Robert De Niro, Raging Bull claims the championship for best boxing movie.