The frequency of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s collaborations lead to a large pool of quality entertainment. Some are better than others, and while Raging Bull never quite reaches the heights of Goodfellas in that regard, it provides us with more infectious chemistry between two all-time greats of the film industry.
Robert De Niro blows us away once again with his collaborative efforts alongside Martin Scorsese. You’re always in for a treat when the two work together, and Raging Bull is no exception to that rule. Cathy Moriarty does a great job as Vickie LaMotta, and focuses on the relationship of the LaMotta family trio. De Niro and Moriarty give off some tremendous performances, and it may be some of their best work to date.
Who am I kidding though, as ever the supporting role of Joe Pesci is what truly steals the limelight away from everyone else involved. His performance as Joey LaMotta is yet another incredible piece of work from one of the most dependable Hollywood actors. Pesci plays well against the more riled and paranoid Jake LaMotta, here played by De Niro in yet another superb role. Pesci and De Niro, there’s no greater pairing for the Scorsese flick than the two of them. They bounce off of each other as you would expect old friends to. Playing off of the strengths and weaknesses of their respective characters and abilities, the two have some tremendous riffs with one another throughout the whole running time.
Shot entirely in black and white, this only adds to the incredible nature of Raging Bull. Scorsese’s direction comes to us with, as expected, a grand display of his finest tropes. The black and white style adds a certain beauty to the film, making a timeless feel of the rise and fall of a boxing great. With a keen focus on his cinematography and camera positioning, it makes Raging Bull feel that much more interesting. More interesting than it really has any right to be.
An overall solid entry into the directing work of Martin Scorsese, bringing together his more artistic merits and cinematographic credibility. He blends performances seamlessly into the fabric of his biographical take on the LaMotta brothers. Aided heavily by great leading and supporting performances, Raging Bull is rightfully regarded as a bloody and brutal portrayal of a hard as hell fighter’s fall from grace.