Proof that you don’t fuck with Robert De Niro!
Raging Bull stars Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, a middleweight boxer whose sadomasochistic rage, sexual jealousy, and animalistic appetite exceeded the boundaries of the prizefight ring, and destroyed his relationship with his wife and family. Also featured in the film are Joe Pesci as Joey, La Motta’s well intentioned brother and manager who tries to help Jake battle his inner demons, and Cathy Moriarty as his abused teen-aged wife.
So when it comes to boxing films, none can ever top my favorite, and probably everybody else’s, Rocky. That film is one of the timeless classics that the whole family can watch and recite for years and years to come. However, when watching this boxing classic take the family away.
Raging Bull is the best sports film of all-time, close to one of the greatest but you know me I can’t go that far yet. I mean there are so many reasons why it’s just great but I just don’t know how to put it all out.
This is a film that is way different from many other sports films. We never get a look at La Motta’s childhood, we just see him when he becomes a star, and then to where it starts to die out. This is great cause we get a sense that this guy was always like this and really was never happy.
The whole film is beautifully filmed in black-and-white, and to be truly honest it couldn’t have worked any other way. The fighting scenes are what is mostly perfect about the look, cause they are shot in such unrelenting and graphic detail that I really did fully get an idea of exactly what boxing is all about. This whole film looks so realistic that I actually felt like I was in the 40’s with La Motta at the time all this was going down.
One of the main reasons why this film is so great is because of De Niro. Obviously, La Motta is a real person, but De Niro takes this real person and turns into what I may say one of the best characters ever captured on film. His performance is so wonderful that at the end I totally forgot that this was De Niro, and felt like I was just watching La Motta himself. His temper is short and there are plenty of scenes where he just loses it, and you, the viewer, are even scared just watching this man. But one of the better reasons why he is so great, is cause the character himself is so unsympathetic. Now this is what I love to see in movies that is played real well here. Here we have a guy who just doesn’t give a shit about what he does: he cheats on his wife plenty of times, beats the crap out of anyone he wants to, basically just doesn’t care what other people have to say about him cause he knows they will get destroyed by him, and at the end of the day he will say “FUCK YOU!”. This is the kind of character that I want to see in any film, De Niro plays this character with such anger and aggression, that I’m not just scared of this man, but I also have to just say he is one of the greatest tragic hero’s in any film still to this day. Also, the supporting cast with Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty who do their very best jobs just to at least handle this crazy S.O.B.
But surely this film wouldn’t even be amazing without one of the greatest, Martin Scorsese. You can just tell with every single scene he is just swinging for the bleachers and is trying so hard to make this film as effective as still is today. He shows us the little spaces in between the high points, but mostly its a film about a life and the end of it, and what is left to say. I was just right away destroyed by the film even as it started, with those beautiful and glorious opening credits, don’t tell me that doesn’t just deserve a 10/10 itself. Honestly, I will never watch another Scorsese film without thinking of this and to be truly honest, nothing that he does in the future will ever, and I mean ever come close to this beautiful piece of work.
Consensus: Without a doubt one of Scorsese’s best films of all-time, that shows a life that is filled with violence and anger, that is often too hard to watch. De Niro plays his greatest role ever as La Motta the unsympathetic hero, and puts so much depth into this performance, that I really felt like I knew who this man truly was.