Martin Scorsese - Raging Bull (1980), 4/10

Even while I thoroughly enjoyed the film techniques and performances, Raging Bull has helped me realize I’m just not as much of a Scorsese fan as I get older. A very odd realization as I idolized his films once upon a time, but this story and the way it is told is simply not as engaging as it could be at times. It is masterfully executed as early as the opening credits, but the narrative focus on simple abuse and irredeemable foolishness becomes exhausting quickly. Considering this is somewhat of a sports film, the actual boxing sequences themselves are simultaneously lacking in realism but also contain some wonderfully surreal, captivating camera work and editing. As a career synopsis I became interested in LaMotta’s fights but not in his personal relationships. What about this screenplay is engaging? On the surface, he is a simple man who succumbs to basically every fault of man and never shows signs of positive change, only some basic remorse when he is woefully hopeless. Not that the message of a biopic needs to be uplifting, but who wants to engage in this story when it has such a narrow focus on such a miserable, pathetic man? De Niro and Pesci deliver such superb performances that the film is redeemed just enough to be watchable for the over 2-hour runtime, but nothing more. It makes me wonder if Scorsese just wanted to make a boxing film and chose the most controversial story possible, injecting his trademarks wherever possible and polishing an otherwise meaningless turd of a story. Not to mention Cathy Moriarty is convincing as Vickie, but infuriatingly dull. A well-made film of questionable effect and even more questionable subject matter.