I promised people, I promised, and I told you I was not going to try that hard to keep that promise, but here I am.
So, I started writing this entry a few weeks, maybe a month back, and I haven’t even gotten to it until today. But understanding this movie is important to me, and understanding why I don’t understand is something I would like to figure out also. Sooo…Let’s see how this probably misleading movie review goes.
(Damn. I’m going to have to stop this entry again due to uncooperative math homework. No matter though, I like math, it’s not like fucking Chemistry. Yeah, that’s right-the F-word; Chemistry is that bad.)
So, Raging Bull marked the third movie by Martin Scorsese that I watched. The other two are Hugo and The Wolff of Wall Street (which I only watched an hour of because that’s all the shit I could handle from that movie. Seriously, who can even watch the whole three hours?) I heard-well, read a lot about Raging Bull. It stars (pretty sure Scorsese’s best friend) Robert DeNiro as real life boxer and heavyweight champion (I think) Jake La Motta.
The movie centers around this man, La Motta, and his rise in both success and failure as a fighting human machine, both in the ring and out. Beginning in 1950, we see La Motta living with a wife he doesn’t love and a yet to be accomplished dream of becoming a boxing champion.
-You know what. I’m going to have to stop here. Because although I will tell you I watched this movie, I still wonder if I really watched it. A few minutes ago, I was reading Roger Ebert’s review on Raging Bull, which received a promising review of five stars. And as he talked about insecurity, redemption, fear, and the meaning behind the ring La Motta fought in for so many years, I was just wondering why I didn’t get the feeling Ebert got from this film by Scorsese. I remember, when I first watched it, the dramatically sweet music that played in the opening and that would play in the end. I remember thinking, “Man, La Motta is freaking crazy, and insane, and I just can’t stop watching him.” I remember the overcooked steak and the vacant love between La Motta and his first wife. I remember La Motta asking his brother Joey to hit him, hard, again and again and again, and I think that’s when I decided that I was going to watch this whole movie.
At times, I felt odd and confused watching the movie, because it was filmed so different than any other movie I had seen before, and La Motta was so different than any other character I had seen before. The way he first acted around Vickie, so shyly confident and quiet, if you know what I mean. And Vickie! Man, was Vickie menacing. Plus, she was only 15 years old, compared to what must have been at least a 25 year old La Motta. It’s clear that la Motta falls in love with this very young woman, and only later I realize that Vickie really loves him too. Thing is, La Motta’s paranoia reaches extremities, and everything Vickie does, I mean every single thing Vickie does or says, he HAS to know about, and if there’s even a little, just a little hint of suspicion within him, BOOM, he goes nuts. I mean, what I got out of it, is that he’s really jealous. He wants Vickie to be a part of only his life, and no one else’s, but Vickie’s too much of a person for just La Motta, and La Motta knows it. The amazing thing about Vickie is that she’s just so strong, but La Motta is crazy and strong. So all this internal struggle La Motta has he takes to the ring, and there are scenes where he just stands in the ring during a match, and willingly let’s the opponent punch him to new bleeding depths. And I’m like, why? Why? I felt like he wanted to show people how strong he was, how many hits he could take and still remain standing. I think he did this not only for the sake of his boxing career, but his life outside the ring too.
The redemption part of this film, I get by the end. I get it that it exist as a theme, and the scene where La Motta is overweight and old and drunk and helpless in the prison cell screaming and moaning, “Why! Why, why, why, why, why!”, I do feel kind of bad for him, but not as bad as I think I should feel. I mean, I won’t say La Motta was a horrible person. I’ll say he was over obsessive about things that made him do things he shouldn’t have done that he knew was wrong but he did it anyways. Why did he do it though? I don’t get the movie. Ebert helped me understand simply what I couldn’t say clearly in words. I mean, he really knows the story, but I still feel I could know the story in my own way, because if I don’t know a film with my own thoughts and feelings, then I don’t know what to think of it.
I do want to say this though.
Throughout the movie, I never felt disconnected or distant from what I was watching. I think I was just watching something I couldn’t quite understand, because it’s a subject I’m just not very familiar with. I thought the film was beautiful, and it always kept me thinking, because it felt as if every scene was holding an essential secret, that I don’t quite understand yet.
I’ll watch it again, because I do want to understand this movie; but I need to understand it my own way.