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January 01, 2009

RAGING BULL — CLASSIC FILM PICK


Ragingbull4 Robert De Niro's metamorphosis into boxing legend Jake La Motta (AKA the Bronx Bull) is one of the most impressive acting transformations on celluloid.

Martin Scorsese's bold decision to film "Raging Bull" in black and white pays off enormously in capturing the internal and physical struggle of a distinctive anti-hero set on a course of self destruction in the boxing world of the '40s and '50s.

The visually glorious boxing scenes in "Raging Bull" are standard fare for university filmmaking classes due to Scorsese's facile use of cinema language to convey La Motta's character traits, as well as the social conditions that influence his choices.

Raging-Bull

"Raging Bull" is one of the best films of the '80s, but it is not without its flaws. Scorsese's heavily stylized approach keeps the audience at an arms distance that practically dares the viewer to see beyond it. Nonetheless, the experiment is pure cinema, and pure Scorsese, which is to say 100% De Niro.  

Rated R. 129 mins. (A-) (Four stars — out of five / no halves)

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