Time and again film critics are cornered at bus stops and in pubs by jabbering movie nuts who demand to know what the best ever film is. Which is it? Why is it? Is it a desert island must? Those of us who don't resort to violence generally admit that at least one of the greatest of all time is Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull", declared by American critics to be the greatest movie of the 80s and it is, arguably, the director's most triumphant accomplishment.
If you haven't seen it already, do so right now. Re-released in a brand-new print taken from the original negative, "Raging Bull" still explodes with imagination and life, revealing the thunder, sensitivity, and artistry of a director on a continuous creative high, aware of his own abilities and unafraid to unleash them on the screen.
Every swirling camera movement, every distinctive angle, has a real reason for existing in this story of world middleweight boxing champ Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) who descends from unstoppable fighting machine to overweight goon, claiming victims both inside the ring and out. In what is essentially a rather frightening probe into the limitations of masculinity, the power of Scorsese is matched by the intensity of De Niro who delves deep into the soul of the boxer. It's one of those De Niro performances which probably took him years to get over, and for all we know a shrink got rich in the process. If all you know about "Raging Bull" is the famous fact that De Niro piled on weight for the role, then there really is a lot more to discover and enjoy. Be amazed.