Saturday, September 11, 2010

Maggie's Raging Bull Review

First of all, De Niro did a wonderful job portraying the character of LaMotta.  

However, I did not like LaMotta.  I thought the way that he, and his brother, treated their wives was beyond terrible and abusive.  Vickie, played by Cathy Moriarty, should have left Jake way before she did.  All he ever did was abuse, accuse, and make her life terrible.  Yet, he never acted that way UNTIL they got married.  Just like Jake's wife before Vickie, he drove her out of the house with his constant yelling and hitting.  However, with Vickie, he also added a giant dose of paranoia.  Every little move she made, he thought she was sleeping with someone. Every little look or word she said was met with physical and verbal abuse.  LaMotta may have been a great boxer, but that's where his greatness ends.

The scene in the jail cell was very haunting, I thought.  It made LaMotta sit there in reflection of himself, and he kept repeating, "I'm not an animal."  Yet, in almost every sense, he was.  When he fought, he was indeed a raging bull, recklessly going into the opponent's reach.  In love, he was a raging bull, rampaging about his house and on his friends and family in a rage.  In life, he was a raging bull, charging headfirst into whatever he wanted and not caring of the consequences.

All in all, I can't say that I really cared a lot for this movie.  The acting is phenomenal, but I just did not like the story or the main character. It dragged at bits, yet the fights were very well done and exciting.  This is the first movie we've seen from the 80s, so I cannot yet say whether I think it deserved it's nomination as best picture for 1980.

I might have other notes to add on to this later, but as of now, I cannot think of anything else to say.  Can't wait to see the rest of the opinions on here!  Toodles, MRW

P.S., are we going to be rating these out of 10?  Cause if so, I give this movie a 6/10.


  1. I just finished watching this movie. I thought it was pretty good, but not great. Since it's kind of late, I'm going to go to bed, but I'll share the rest of my thoughts about this movie later.

  2. Ok, I have had a while to think about this movie and compose my thoughts, so here goes.

    This might not make sense at first, but hear me out. I admired and respected the film moreso than I enjoyed it. Robert DeNiro put in perhaps the best performance of his career as Jake LaMotta, and that's saying a lot. DeNiro didn't just play LaMotta, he became Jake LaMotta and everything that that entailed. The rest of the cast was also top-notch, particularly Joe Pesci as Jake's brother Joey. Pesci and DeNiro seemed to have a natural chemistry together. Martin Scorsese directed a top-notch film that got the most out of it's actors and its story, and the decision to film most of the movie in Black and White was a nice touch, as it added a sense of authenticity to the life story of Jake LaMotta.

    However, I agree with Maggie somewhat in that I really couldn't get behind LaMotta because he was such a bad person, and really, other than Vicki, every primary character in the movie was either a criminal or just plain unlikeable. On the one hand, I appreciate that Scorsese and DeNiro decided to show LaMotta as he was, warts and all, but on the other hand, LaMotta is such a lout in this movie that at the end of the film, instead of feeling sorry for him, you kind of feel as if he got what he deserved.

    Overall, as a film, this is a cinematic piece of art, from the performance by DeNiro to the shots used by Scorsese to the stylistic use of shooting the film in black and white. However, the unsympathetic characters kind of took away from the film. I'd give it an 8.2 out of 10.

  3. Raging Bull is a prime example of a movie that I have a complete love/hate feeling for. I love the acting from the two main characters played by Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci. I believe this was one of Pesci's first major film roles, but he did not act like it. At times I felt that he even stole a few scenes from Deniro; especially the scene leading up to the brotherly beatdown.

    Deniro was absolutely phenomenal playing Jake LaMotta. The script called for LaMotta to be a complete monster in and out of the ring and that's what Deniro delivered. I've always been a fan of Deniro, and this movie is a shining example of his dedication to acting. He put on significant weight to accurately portray LaMotta at different periods of time, and his Oscar award for Best Actor is rightly deserved in my opinion.

    The rest of the cast was fine with no real standouts. I thought, and this may be an unpopular opinion, that Cathy Moriarty lacking in her performance of Vicky. I can't really place it but her performance seemed very uninspired. Maybe that was the intention, who knows.

    The movie was also extremely well made and the fight scenes were very well done. They were a little bit over the top, but I enjoyed them quite a bit. Martin Scorsese is definitely a very talented director and I could see he spent a little time to make sure this movie was as accurate as possible, at least boxing-wise.

    Now for the dislikes. I will admit that I do not know a whole lot about Jake LaMotta's personal life, but this movie completely buries him as a person. There wasn't a single scene in the entire movie where LaMotta is portrayed as anything other than an animal. It's almost like making a movie about Tiger Woods' life and only portraying him as an adulterous self-centered golfer. The movie lacked the realism that Jake LaMotta was a real person and i'm sure he wasn't half as evil as the movie portrayed him to be.

    Final verdict:

    This was the second time viewing this movie and I would say I enjoyed it more the first time. I appreciate all of the talent within the movie and Scorsese's directing, but I just didn't like it enough to call it great. The rest of the list for 1980 looks pretty solid so this one may not even be top 5 for me. If we are going to score these I would give it a 7 out of 10. Good, but not great.

  4. Wow, after reading both of your comments I think we've come to the same conclusions. Which movie be next?

  5. I was thinking we watch The Shining next. What do you guys wanna watch?

  6. The Shining is fine with me, but I watched it a few months ago so i'll just review it from memory.