Sakamoto Reviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I’ve done a lot of bad things Joey, maybe it’s coming back to me."
- Jake LaMotta
Raging Bull centers around real life boxer Jake LaMotta and his inevitable downfall from middleweight champion of the world to bar comedian. Raging Bull is one of Martin Scorsese’s most subtle films. It’s extremely intimate and very stripped down, it isn’t very flashy like Goodfellas or The Wolf of Wall Street. There’s something about the film, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, that felt incredibly personal from Scorsese and it shows with every scene.
Acting is fantastic all across the board. This may be my favorite Robert De Niro performance as he embodies Jake LaMotta in every way from his aggression to his insecurities to his sympathetic nature to a degree, everything about this performance is A-grade stuff. Joe Pesci does a fantastic job too, his character is tough like his brother but you can always tell this comes from an area of jealousy or misguided admiration as his older brother routinely talks down to him. Cathy Moriarty also delivers a superb performance as Vickie. You can always tell what’s going through her head and what she’s going through is both sympathetic and understandable. She also never comes off as weak or incapable of handling herself even if she’s in a very toxic relationship.
The few flaws I have with the movie are incredibly minor like a few continuity errors as small as Vicki’s hair being different from one shot to the next but the only blatant historical inaccuracy as far as I can tell is Jake never fought his brother Joey, it was Pete Savage a close friend of Jakes. As far as I heard they toned everything down meaning Jakes aggression took a whole different level in real life.
Just an absolutely fantastic movie. Not very much to complain about as it stays true to the spirit and identity of Jake LaMotta’s story and adds some serious depth and resonance along with it. Nothing about this movie felt wrong or off and it does an amazing job of showing the worst qualities of a human with just a small glimpse of redemptive qualities.