Robert De Niro gives a career performance in Martin Scorsese’s brutal, unflinching biopic of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violent bouts of anger make him a champion in the ring, but a wreck outside of it.
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Despite all these forces striving for intimacy, Scorsese’s vision nevertheless explodes into a behemoth of a film, the ultimate boxing movie, which ironically has little interest in the sport of boxing… It’s like we are inside a stranger’s skull as it’s being beaten to a pulp, while at the same time we’re on the outside looking in, being handed an X-ray. The result is a strange form of empathy: we feel vulnerable (in other words, human).
Scorsese is (with Godard) one of the rare directors to possess this sensual taste for filmic material, which overflows into an abstraction, and that leads to his experimentation with this black-and white and Super 8 film stock. This pseudo-amateurish footage troubles the film, and through these moments of family happiness, breaks the heterogeneous fabric of the film, like in a painting by Rauschenberg or an atonal composition.
Jake La Motta is one of the best characters written by Scorsese that I have seen, their prepotence and their arrogance make him destestable but unique at the same time. Although the DeNiro performance is incredible, the cinematography is not creative, but works to tell a story about a particularly boxer and his excentric life. Its a different movie with a character worth seeing for overcoat the De Niro performance.
First time, I was underwhelmed. Second time, nearly hated it. Third time, I felt myself grieving for Jake Lamotta. It's like the film says, I was once blind but now I can see. What I once perceived as a character who was hopelessly unlikeable or even un-understandable, now feels like one of most human of them all. Frankly, I feel like I am to blame for not even trying, as if I rejected him at first sight.
I'm so sad that this movie was so disappointing. Great acting from De Niro, just as "they" say, but everything else is just average. I hated the fight scenes, so unreal! And it didn't rase any emotions, I wasn't sucked in Jake's character and in the end I just couldn't feel the collapse Scorsese was trying to build on.
One of the greatest masterpieces of cinematography done in the black and white medium, wonderful to see early De Niro/Scorsese and play off of each other... truly amazing performances, amazing to see that almost half of this cast returns about 15 years later for 'Casino'... Absolutely marvelous!
“Raging Bull” is not a film about boxing but about a man with paralyzing jealousy and sexual insecurity, for whom being punished in the ring serves as confession, penance and absolution." - Roger Ebert
Still prefer Goodfellas as my favorite Scorsese, but this is every bit as good as advertised. De Niro is legendary in his role, but here is a shocker for some...I think Joe Pesci is just as good as Jake's brother.
De Niro, Pesci, Scorsese. The team in top form, a beautiful and tragic film about redemption and regret. Told beautifully through Scorsese magical eye and De Niro's true method performance. A performance for the ages. La Motta: "I aint ever gonna fight Joe Louis"