Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Raging Bull (1980)


Stars : Robert De Niro, Joey Pesci, Cathy Moriarty.

Director : Martin Scorsese.

I have heard a lot about "Raging Bull" and with trio of Robert De Niro, Joey Pesci and Martin Scorsese I truly believed in the movie being a great one but what I saw exceeded my imagination.Based on the memoir "Raging Bull: My Story" by Jake LaMotta a former world middleweight champion ,"Raging Bull" is an emotional tale of the man's life both within and outside the ring.

Jake LaMotta is a fearless middleweight boxer ,who has won over the critics and the public .He is savage and an unstoppable force when inside the ring.His attitude and boxing style has earned him the title of "Bronx Bull". LaMotta is managed by his brother Joey Pesci ,who also trains with him and is very close to Jake. Jake has a temper that's uncontrollable which often results in confrontation between Jake and his wife.Jake meets a 15 year girl Vicki and decides to marry her even thought he was married. Jake is making great progress in the ring and his popularity and stature grows with every fight. As Jake's fame grows he starts becoming paranoid about his wife and everyone surrounding him. This delusion gets to him and he starts getting more aggressive with each passing day .He is still making progress in the ring but outside his home is cracking up .The self destructive delusion and the struggle of a champion is what the movie is all about.

There have been movies about boxing before and one that comes to mind is "Rocky" an all time hit but I feel comparing or including "Raging Bull " in the same genre as "Rocky" is not appropriate."Raging Bull " is different ,"Rocky" was inspiring while this one is about the self destruction of a champion. Robert De Niro one of the greatest actors ever to grace the silver screen just draws you in as Jake LaMotta. His transformations in the movie from a Raging Jake LaMotta of the ring to a big fat struggling Jake is phenomenal. I felt pity for his character as the movie progress.He is just superb and in every situation he is able to convince of the characters real emotions.For me one of the best performances by Robert De Niro .Joey Pesci is one of my favorite actors and when he teams up with Robert and Martin Scorsese its always magic. He has always played these moody and temperamental characters and he is always brilliant. The chemistry between Robert De Niro and Joey Pesci is brilliant. The intensity of both the actors just lifts up the shear experience to a higher levels.

It would be highly inappropriate to comment on the direction as I feel "Raging Bull " could be put among the Top three works by Martin Scorsese ,as I haven't seen all his work. He is superb with his tight direction and timing. The fight sequences are just tremendous ,every punch looks real and the way each fight progresses and ends is just mind boggling. I haven't seen any movie that has shot boxing matches with such precision and class. The last fight of Jake against Sugar Ray Robinson is a fine example of Martin's direction skills. A fine narration and great editing has also helped the movie. Excellently written dialogues , high octane performances make some memorable scenes. The scene between Pesci and De Niro where De Niro questions Pesci about his relationship with Jake's wife is truly amazing .The intensity and expressions by each actor just lights up the screen.

Excellent direction coupled with brilliant performance based on a magnificent story is all what it takes to make a truly classic movie and "Raging Bull " is overflowing with these components.Watch it coz it may not be "Rocky" but its sure one of the best ever.

Plus :Robert De Niro and Joey Pesci 's fine performances, great story and brilliant direction.

Minus :Just have some patience ,coz the somewhere in middle part the movie may make u a bit uncomfortable or restless.

Rating :8.5+/10

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