If I could describe this movie in one word, it would be raw. Robert De Niro, one of the all-time greats, acted his butt out of this movie to create the cold, abusive and selfish Jack LaMotta. The movie was cold and made you feel uncomfortable the entire time, even during its somewhat tender moments.
The boxing scenes were incredibly raw. I’ve watched many boxing movies, but this was the first time I turned to my husband at one point and said “I cannot fathom why anyone would want to do this for a living.” Getting pounded again and again in the face, I don’t desire that life at all. Scorsese did not shy away at all by showing how brutal a boxing match really is and I have to commend him for that. Also, props to De Niro for his extreme weight gain and loss for his role. Holy crap, although I did read he just ate whatever he wanted to in France for a few months to gain the weight… which sounds amazing.
The area that is most raw, most uncomfortable, was of course Jack’s relationships, particularly with his second wife. It was apparent with his first wife that he was abusive and watching him go after his second wife while married was unnerving. Watching the complete downfall of his crazed jealousy, their vicious arguments and eventual physical abuse was difficult. His relationship with his brother was also sad to watch and I was happy when Pesci’s character continued to blow him off at the end.
This movie was well acted and felt so real, as if you were a fly on a wall watching his life. I honestly don’t know if I will watch it again, or if it belongs this high in the Top 100, but it truly is a great film.
Note, Netflix sent us Raging Bull prior to Singin’ in the Rain so we skipped ahead. Therefore next up will be No. 5 Singin’ in the Rain