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Raging Bull rated: Then & now

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It turns out not even journalists are right 100% of the time...

THEN

“De Niro’s La Motta is one of the most unlikable, repugnant screen protagonists in some time… The movie may flounder in the mass market due to the off-putting character.” Joseph McBride, Variety

“Scorsese totally ignores [La Motta’s] reform school background, offering no explanation to his antisocial behaviour.” Kathleen Carroll, New York Daily News

“The film is played at such high pitch it may well exhaust audiences that don’t come prepared.” Vincent Canby, The New York Times

“Scorsese’s excesses verge on self-parody. You can feel the director sweating for greatness, but there’s nothing under the scenes… De Niro’s portrayal of La Motta is a swollen puppet with only bits and pieces of a character inside.” Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

“As La Motta, Robert De Niro gives a blank, soulless performance. There’s so little depth or urgency coming from him that he’s impossible to despise, or forgive, in any but the most superficial way.” Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

NOW

“It’s the most painful and heartrending portrait of jealousy in cinema. An Othello for our times. Best film of the Eighties and among the all-time top 10.” Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

“An underdog in its day and a classic today.” Glen Abel, The Hollywood Reporter

Raging Bull is Marty’s masterpiece. His decision to shoot in black and white was extraordinary and the life portrayed outside the ring was even more brutal than the punches inside.” Steven Spielberg

“The high-water mark of the Scorsese/De Niro partnership. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty are superb as his brother and wife. Its editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, established the movie as a classic example of her art, and the monochrome cinematography is superb. Unmissable.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“One of the bloodiest and most beautiful reflections on atonement in the Scorsese canon. It is still one of cinema’s most breathtaking films.” Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times

“The film that many consider the finest of its decade, Raging Bull has aged well.” Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Images: allstar

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