Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci
Director: Martin Scorsese
The true story of Jake La Motta, a boxer whose personal life derailed his professional one. His life goes from contender to washed up has been. A truly violent figure, whose weight balloons and who isn’t afraid to turn on anyone in a jealous rage from his own brother to his wife.
It’s A Must See Because: this classic boxing movie involved a lot of loosely scripted scenes that were then improvised, which was an unusual choice but pays off in the naturalness of the two leads. De Niro is a powerhouse in this film, juddering from one extreme to the next, without ever losing sight of the man he’s portraying, a real human being whose humanity is hard to find.
It’s almost an anti-sports film, in which the hero is really someone who doesn’t exactly make it, who isn’t in control and who we don’t necessarily want to see win. The cinematography captures the sparkle and pop of the ringside and the splatter of blood both at home and in the ring. De Niro and Scorsese at their best.
See It If: one of the classic Ne Niro/Scorsese team ups, it’s one of their best, though the violence may put of some.