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Aug 27

Number 197: Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull is number 197 of our top 200 movies list.
The Movie is directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent and Mary Albee.  The film is rated R.

Raging Bull

Karen’s Review

Wow, Raging Bull really threw me for a loop.  I knew going in that this was a critically acclaimed movie, it was dramatically filmed using black and white at a time when all movies were filmed in color.  I was expecting it to have some incredible greatness to it.

Boy was I disappointed.  The movie is basically the true story of boxer Jake LaMotta.  Half way through day two of this movie (yes, it took us two sittings to actually get through the film), I leaned over and asked Kenny if the real Jake LaMotta knew that they made this movie about him.  Not only did he know, but he was actually a consultant on the film!?!

This movie has violence, profanity, anger, spousal abuse, if this was my life story there is NO WAY I would let anyone make a movie about it!

There isn’t that much to the story line either, the rise and fall of a middle weight boxer in the 1940’s and 50’s.  There was no real climax and resolution to this film.  Watching all this anger and ‘rage’ I really wanted there to be a happy ending of sorts or at least a resolution, the film kind of leaves you hanging.

The only redeeming quality of this film is the caliber of the acting.  Robert De Niro played his part so well that I truly hated him at moments.  Not only did he throw his mind into his character but he also went through some extreme bodily changes as well, gaining and losing weight and muscle tone to cover the range of Frank LaMotta’s life.  He did a great job portraying his character.  It just doesn’t happen to be a character that I care to see a movie about.

Overall I give Raging Bull one out of five shells.1 shell

Kenny’s Review

First of all I do not see what the entire hubbub is about with this movie.  I wonder if people can be such drones that since it was a great director and wonderful actors that it must be good.  I will say that the use of black and white film to portray Jack LaMotta fight with his own personal sins in and out of the ring filled the film with the grit that reflects the life that was LaMotta’s.  Unfortunately, the films plot line is not one that is all that interesting.  LaMotta is just shown as a great but flawed fighter that fights as much in the ring as out because of his lack of self-control and pays the price for his defects.  I am not saying that every movie needs a good guy or a happy ending I am huge fan of Goodfellas and there is not one redeeming quality in any of those characters, but when I watch a biopic I want a story about redemption or at least a story that answers the question of why.

Raging Bull to me never answered the question of why LaMotta was the way he was it just drops you in the middle of his boxing career and then leaves you at the start of his acting/comedy career.  Robert De Niro makes the movie, but even his wonderful performance was not enough for me to really enjoy the film I give Raging Bull only two out of 5 shells.
2 shells

photo via digitalbusstop.com

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