Raging Bull

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Martin Scorsese

REVIEWED: 07-27-98

This is Scorsese and De Niro at their best. Raging Bull chronicles the rise of the physically imposing but emotionally unstable boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his inevitable slide into a pitiable existence. La Motta climbs his way to the middleweight championship and the fame and fortune that accompanies the title. But despite success in the ring, he is never able to master himself. He is consumed by jealously and convinced that his knockout (pun intended) wife has slept with his younger brother Joey (Joe Pesci), who is also his manager. Jake beats the crap out of his brother, but gets his when he is pulverized in the ring by Sugar Ray Robinson (god love you if you know who played him). The allusions to On the Waterfront are completely without subtlety and the beginning spoils any suspense a linear telling might have had, but who cares? The performances are riveting and the visuals are stunning. The boxing sequences are brutally realistic - there are no crappy Rocky theatrics here - and the humanity oozes out of every scene. Raging Bull is a fine piece of American cinema that you don't have to be a movie nerd to understand or appreciate.

--Michael Bertin

Other Films by Martin Scorsese
A Personal Journey With Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
Bringing Out the Dead
Mean Streets
Taxi Driver
The Last Temptation of Christ

Film Vault Suggested Links
Mrs. Dalloway
Cradle Will Rock

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