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Raging Bull
BLU-RAY disk
03.23.2011 By: Johnny Moreno
Raging Bull order
Director:
Martin Scorsese

Actors:
Robert De Niro
Joe Pesci
Cathy Moriarty

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A gritty, hard hitting and in your face look at the life of boxing legend Jake LaMotta.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The difficult part of writing a review for a movie so heavily lauded with praise and awards is finding a different approach. I guess I can start talking about the story. LaMotta, like many other “for real” tough guys that I’ve known and come across, is driven by insecurity, paranoia and fear. The fact that his fighting style is known as “bull-ish” (i.e., moving forward, stalking, taking punches in order to land some of his) is a summation of these personality traits that drives him to become the best middleweight boxer in the world. The problem for LaMotta, as I see it, is that he brings that same intensity and ferocity to the people he’s supposed to love and be closest to (his brother brother Joey played by Joe Pesci and his wife Vicki played by the beautiful Cathy Moriarty). It’s this kind of dichotomy that is so relatable to me because it reminds me of so many different people in my own life. Though never one of my douchebag friends or even myself has or will ever reach the heights of middleweight champion, by the end of the movie you see a man at his bottom crying and screaming his regrets and it’s only then you see the vulnerable, raw and base level quality that makes up Jake LaMotta.

It’s amazing how scary good Robert De Niro is in this. Having no previous knowledge of Jake LaMotta’s personal life, De Niro portrays the boxer in such a way that it rivals his Frankenstein role. In a lot of ways, LaMotta is a monster, but De Niro also brings a very human element to the tough boxer. His anger is very real, but also his vulnerability is very real and palpable. Joe Pesci as Joey LaMotta has got quite a task in this. Not only does he have to act alongside De Niro, who’s so dedicated to the role that during a sparring session he really breaks Pesci’s rib, but he’s also got to stand toe to toe with De Niro and exhibit as much intensity as he does in certain scenes. That can’t be an easy task to have. The charisma between these two is so thick that you’re amazed that they’re acting, and that they’re not really brothers. There isn’t a single wasted frame of film in Raging Bull, and each and every actor in it makes it so.

I grew up watching this movie, never really understanding it. My pop worked in a video store and as a result, he had a lot of movie posters that he framed and he hung in his house. One of the posters was Raging Bull. De Niro’s beaten mug, sweaty and puffy, looking directly at you. A man on a mission of destruction. The face haunted me for years. I didn’t understand why someone so brutally violent, especially towards those closest to him, had his own movie. Every few years I would take out the flick and revisit it. It wasn’t until the last ten years that I truly understood the nature of the Jake LaMotta character. That he was driven by insecurity and fear. That for as much talent and potential that he possessed as a fighter, you can’t always beat your own demons out of you. At least, that’s what I take away from Jake LaMotta’s character.
THE EXTRAS
Commentaries:
  • Director Martin Scorsese and editor Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Cast & Crew Commentary: Irwin Winkler, Robbie Robertson, Robert Chartoff, Theresa Saldana, John Turturro, Frank Warner, Michael Chapman and Cis Corman
  • Storytellers Commentary: with Mardik Martin, Paul Schrader, Jason Lustin and Jake LaMottaCast and crew

Featurettes:
  • Raging Bull: Before the Fight
  • Raging Bull: Inside the Ring
  • Raging Bull: Outside the Ring
  • Raging Bull: After the Fight
  • The Bronx Bull (Making-of)
  • DeNiro vs. LaMotta (Shot–by–shot comparison)
  • LaMotta Defends Title (Newsreel footage)
  • Trailers
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Scorsese. De Niro. Pesci. Boxing. What more do you want? You hear me? Whatssamattawhichyou?!
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12:07PM on 03/23/2011
I've never been a huge fan. Martin Scorsese makes awesome movies, but I don't think I've been emotionally affected by a single one. The 80s sucked though for Mr. Scorsese. "Raging Bull" is very overrated and "The Last Temptation of Christ" was laughably bad.
I've never been a huge fan. Martin Scorsese makes awesome movies, but I don't think I've been emotionally affected by a single one. The 80s sucked though for Mr. Scorsese. "Raging Bull" is very overrated and "The Last Temptation of Christ" was laughably bad.
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