Raging Bull

Arguably Scorsese’s masterpiece, Raging Bull is based on the life memoirs of boxeur Jake La Motta and is considered by many critics the greatest performance of Robert De Niro on film.
The rising of La Motta in the boxing world and his consequent downfall to self-disgrace are portrayed in black & white, with a style that elevates this film from the stereotypical underdog boxing movie. In fact, the boxing is just a background theme for the story of a man dwindling in his unexplainable anger and incapacity to relate to others.

Although he is one of my favorite directors, I gotta admit I’m not a Scorsese conneiseur, and that’s the main reason why I only got to watch this movie last Sunday, 29 years after it’s release, even though it has been on my wishlist for ages, ever since I fell in love with Taxi Driver.

So, is Raging Bull better than Taxi Driver? Tough question. Shockingly for most, I say no.
Taxi Driver is more immersive in my opinion, Travis Bickle gets into your skin and you stick with him all the way and support most of his actions, even the most insane and unpredictable ones, whereas in Raging Bull you keep your distance and stay critic of Jake La Motta. I mean, let’s admit it, the guy was a prick and had it coming, but at the same time, near the end, De Niro’s acting leaves you with a feeling of compassion for La Motta and the whole black & white spectrum of the film helps to induce you into a sad mood.
You see La Motta telling jokes to cover up the sadness and loneliness of his own life, and you feel pity for the guy cause although he deserves it, he knew no better. It was his nature that brought him there, and that’s why you feel bad for him.

It’s not an easy film, and if you don’t put it in context and in its own era, you will not understand it.
I didn’t like it that much if you ask me, maybe I will change my mind when I see it again, but I have to admit that De Niro’s acting is amazing. His commitment to the film was legendary (he trained boxing for a year with Jake La Motta himself, studied him closely, interviewed the people around him and gained a huge amount of weight to play the character in his later age), and resulted in one of the best on-screen performances of all time.

An extra point to this movie is the editing. Specially in the fighting scenes, you see a very raw and different way to portray a boxing match, with dozens of shots getting thrown at your eyes in real-time combat speed…I’ve seen lots of boxing films but none delivered this kind of shots with such strength.
Thelma Schoonmaker
, the film editor, was awarded an Oscar that year for her work, in addition to  De Niro, who got the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role…sadly they didn’t award Scorsese for this film, and it is shameful that he only got the award for Best Director with The Departed, years later doing such marks in the history of cinema like Raging Bull and many others.

Just to finish this review, I have to mention that what I really enjoyed as much as De Niro’s acting was the soundtrack.
The music in this movie leads the audience into a fantastic range of emotions, and it was great to understand (from the bonus dvd that came with my special edition) that Scorsese choose the soundtrack himself. He wanted to use music from his own childhood cause he grew up in the same hoods as La Motta. If you pay attention, you’re gonna be marveled by the soundtrack of Raging Bull.




5 Responses to “Raging Bull”

  1. 1 Tim 11 August, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Granda filme!!!

  2. 2 limpa_vias 11 August, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Pergunto-me pk k ainda nao vi este filme sinceramente! Mto boa review! tal como disseste, mais um para ir para lista de espera!

    ahah xeguei a casa e so via walkthewalk na minha caixa de email lolol!

    o filme do truffaut foi msm torrent, se kiseres safo-te isso, dá-me a dika no msn msm k eu teja offline, k ja sabes k ando sempre por la camuflado lol.

    Os air max light foram msm sponsored pela the hood no bairro! nao deu pa aguentar a pressao do saldo de 50% aahah!

    Quanto ao full metal jacket e o apocalypse now, paaaaah discutivel discutivel! a 1ª parte do FMJ é genial mesmo. meto ambos + o Platoon no top3 sobre o vietname 😉

    tem havido mais tempo e motivaçao para escrever umas cenas;) já tu é sempre akele andamento mais pesado ahah! abraço mano!

  3. 4 Angela 14 August, 2009 at 12:25 am

    have to check this out man!
    your comment at my blog was just crazy man.. were you on drugs or what? fuckin crazy shit dude.
    Hold tight…

    (desculpa mas ao ler isto tudo inglês, dá-me bué vontade de responder em inglês também!)


  4. 5 akacorleone 20 August, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    belo review!

    pessoalmente tb gosto + do Taxi Driver, mas este também é uma Masterpiece do Scorcese!

    keep them coming!

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