Raging Bull (BLU RAY)

Raging Bull

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, May 7, 1996
Running Time: 
2 Hours, 8 Minutes
Special Features

Three commentaries, Four new featurettes, Cathy Moriarty on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, March 27, 1981, Raging Bull: Fight Night, Behind-the-scenes featurette, De Niro vs. La Motta, La Motta Definds Title, Trailer


Jake LaMotta (played by Robert De Niro) is a boxer that wants to make it to the middle weight championship fight on his own. When his brother Joey LaMotta (played by Joe Pesci) introduces him to Vickie (played by Cathy Moriarty) Jake falls head over heels for her. Jake’s career as a fighter is one of passion but his home life is filled with rage, jealousy, and suspicion for everyone he loved and ones he didn’t. With thinking his wife is having an affair with everyone, Jake’s life goes on a downward spiral to self destruction. No matter how well he does in the ring, Jake’s home life is something he can’t control no matter how much he tries.

My Take:
“Raging Bull” is a film done by the great director Martin Scorsese about the real life boxer Jake LaMotta that’s based off the memoirs by Jake LaMotta. This film is done in black and white giving it an artistic feel and one that ages the film. It’s because of it being in black and white that it really does look like it was filmed in the 60’s, only with better quality. The plot follows the boxing career of Jake LaMotta after he loses his first fight to Jimmy Reeves in 1964 until he has long since retired from boxing and works at a bar.

This is not the typical boxing film that basis it’s plot around the fights or one main fight that the boxer has. Instead the focus in “Raging Bull” is the turmoil of the personal life of the boxer and his family members that has to deal with his outbursts. This man was a crazy and mean man who went around suspicious of his wife having affairs with anyone just because she looked at another guy, talked to him, or for no real reason other than he thought it. He beat his wife and even his brother because of his fear and anger that something was going on. Pretty much his whole life was one of self destruction both in the ring and out of it.

All that is shown in this film and the acting performances given by Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, Joe Pesci as the brother Joey, and Cathy Moriarty as the wife Vickie is outstanding. From the beginning of the film it’s easy to see how much anger is inside this man Jake LaMotta and how he easily lets his anger hurt everything and everyone he touches. Cathy Moriarty does a superb job showing that she was playing a character who wanted to be a loving wife and at the start of their relationship she was but by the end it was too much for her to take.
Though this is not a film that got me pumped up and wanting to go learn how to box, it still has a impact on me as far as the way it’s been filmed. The cinematography on this film is amazing and it’s what makes this film so good. It’s the shots of inside the ring with the fighters, the shots where it’s just the two brothers sitting talking to each other over the dinner table, and so many other angles that give it the impact that it has. The wide angle shots that seem to still be close to the actors has this feel like I was there with them at the time and this is how the whole movie is.

What I didn’t Like:
One thing I noticed a lot about this film was the fight scenes are not that great. As I said the fights are not the main focus of the film but they are still important. Important enough that the film makers went to great detail to make the actors look just like the real fighters did in the real fights. Only when they are fighting it’s easily seen that the punches being thrown were not connecting nor coming close to connecting. I also couldn’t find myself connecting or wanting to root for the main character. After listening to the interview with Robert De Niro he seems to have wanted to make the character seem as if he was not such a bad guy but in the film he seems like one to me. He was a character that I just couldn’t like and I wasn’t inspired by him either. Though the acting done by all the actors is great and the film looks great, there wasn’t anything that made me like them and I was always feeling like something was going to make Jake LaMotta snap.

How The Blu Ray Looks:
Because of this being a film done in black and white, the transfer over to Blu Ray didn’t hurt it any. So far I haven’t been too impressed with films that were done from the late 90’s on down when they have been put on Blu Ray. This is an exception and it’s because of the black and white that it is able to look good. The reason that black and white looks just as good now on Blu Ray as if it was filmed today is because there is nothing to show how the colors are dull, bland, or just faded. The older the film is the more faded the colors look in them but with black and white there is none of that fade to it and this is why it looks so good. Down side to this is that even though the picture quality looks good, the sound still sounds bad. I had to play that volume up down game that I hate so much. During the fight scenes the levels where high but when the dialog at the home scenes where being played the levels where forcing me to turn up my volume. Which when the fights played I had to rush to get to the remote to turn it down. 

Lee Roberts
Review by Lee Roberts
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