Raging Bull

Title: Raging Bull
Year: 1980
Length: 129 minutes
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Paul Schrader & Mardik Martin, with Joseph Carter & Peter Savage; based on the book by Jake LaMotta
Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
Music: non-original music (I guess? I had thought there was a score, but there’s no credit on the IMDb)
Distinctions: Oscars for Best Actor (De Niro) and Best Editing; Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Moriarty), Best Supporting Actor (Pesci), Best Cinematography and Best Sound [wait, seriously, Best Sound?]; currently #72 on IMDb’s Top 250

My reaction
Synopsis: a boxer is an abusive jackass
How I saw it: on video (rented from Netflix), yesterday
Concept: Indifferent. I don’t see any aspect of this story that could potentially make a watchable movie. Still, if you don’t know any details of the “plot” and just read the synopsis, it sounds promising.
Story: Terrible. He’s a jackass, then he does some boxing, then he’s a jackass some more, wash, rinse, repeat. Oh, except that in the second half of the movie there’s no more boxing.
Characters: Terrible. I have no idea why this guy is the jackass he is; he just starts that way and keeps going without change or break though the whole movie. I have even less idea why Scorsese thinks we should care about his life.
Dialog: Good. I could do without the improvisational techniques (aka repeating short phrases, with slightly different inflection).
Pacing: Bad.
Cinematography: Good.
Special effects/design: Bad. The design is good. The make-up is great (although it ends up being very distracting, since De Niro is unmistakably De Niro no matter what his face looks like). But I’ve got to take points off for some of the most horrendously awful sound mixing I’ve ever heard (or perhaps I should say didn’t hear).
Acting: Good. It’s a reluctant “good.” I just don’t get the whole Robert De Niro thing. It feels like all his characters since Taxi Driver are played by Travis Bickle on downers.
Music: Indifferent. There’s some great music in there, but its lost in the audio chaos.
Subjective Rating: 3/10 (Bad). It has some redeeming values, a handful of nice scenes. 90% of the movie is just tedious, though.
Objective Rating: 1.6/4 (Eh).


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