Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Unbearabull

TCM has been playing Oscar-winning films all month. A few days ago I watched Raging Bull for the first time in years. Many critics call it Scorsese's best (high praise indeed) and the greatest film of the 80s. The readers at IMDB have voted it the 60th greatest film of all.

I'm afraid I can't agree. I admire De Niro's commitment to the role of Jake La Motta, but then, as now, the film strikes me as little more than two hours plus of unrelieved loutishness. I don't demand protagonists be all sweetness of light, but what's the point, and where's the pleasure, in watching this film?

Amazingly, I discovered in the IMDB trivia section that after their producer vetoed the original script, De Niro and Scorsese spent a few weeks reworking it to make La Motta more sympathetic. Which scenes are those?

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