A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action, while attempting to liberate a twelve-year-old prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.
When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he's a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he's a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family's love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it's his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.Written by
Robert De Niro kept a copy of Pauline Kael's scathing review of the film with his penned in retorts such as "So?", "That's the point!" See more »
When Jake upsets a drink at a customer's table, it wets the front of the dress of a seated woman. In the next shot her dress is dry. See more »
Jake La Motta:
I remember those cheers / They still ring in my ears / After years, they remain in my thoughts. / Go to one night / I took off my robe, and what'd I do? I forgot to wear shorts. / I recall every fall / Every hook, every jab / The worst way a guy can get rid of his flab. / As you know, my life wasn't drab. / Though I'd much... Though I'd rather hear you cheer / When you delve... Though I'd rather hear you cheer / When I delve into Shakespeare / "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a ...
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The film is in black and white, but during the opening credits, the title is in red letters. See more »
Ostentatiously pretentious with a one-dimensional central character
Certainly a contender for the most overrated film ever made. I like some of Martin Scorsese's work, but I have never understood the near hysterical reactions elicited by critics and his die-hard fans over his contributions to cinema which, much like Steven Spielberg, range from wonderful to embarrassing. To them, every Scorsese film is "brilliant." However, despite the reassurances of various critical associations and hero-worshipping fans all too willing to declare this the greatest film made in the last 30 years, most viewers may well wonder what all of the hoopla is about. The film is a biography of boxer Jake LaMotta and documents his volatile, tempestuous nature both in the boxing ring and in his personal life. There is no doubt that Robert DeNiro hurls himself heart and soul into this role, but much of the accolades heaped onto his work center on the arduous physical labors he endured to get himself into fighting shape for LaMotta at his prime and then make himself fat to depict LaMotta having gone to seed. One must admire his dedication, but it was hardly the first time an actor had gone to such efforts people quickly forget the weight gains of actresses such as Elizabeth Taylor for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf or Lynn Redgrave in Georgy Girl more than a decade prior to DeNiro in Raging Bull. Ironically, other than the physical, there is nothing to recommend LaMotta as a character around whom a movie should be centered. He greets every obstacle in his life, either person or event, by trying to batter it into bloody submission. There is no range to him and he is most certainly not a charismatic person. I certainly would not wish to spend more than a few moments in his presence much less the duration of this film, which ultimately depicts LaMotta as little more than a not especially intelligent, violent pugilist. The profane dialog is anything but memorable and the people who surround LaMotta are little more than ciphers. The film is brutal and often hard to watch, more so because of its pretense rather than brutality. Scorsese films the whole thing in stark black and white and choreographs some of the boxing footage with mournful classical music. All of these touches seem to indicate a serious subject of near biblical importance but that subject most definitely is not seen on screen in the guise of LaMotta. Joe Pesci pretty much contributes his stock Joe Pesci performance as Jake's brother. The film's biggest attempt at humor comes at the expense of Cathy Moriarty, a whiskey-voiced actress who resembles a 30-year-old vamp but who the film initially tries to pass off as a virginal 15-year-old(!). To her credit, she gets past that initial hurdle and makes Vickie LaMotta the only sympathetic character in the film. Raging Bull is by no stretch a bad film, but it is a criminally overrated one done in by ostentatious pretentiousness and an unsympathetic central character who (no matter how amazing the actor's physical transformation) is nothing more than a one-dimensional thug.
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