Viewed – April 06 2007 DVD
This has been one of those films I have always wanted to see, but never got around to. OK, I have checked it out numerous times on TV and seen about an hour of it, whilst flicking back ‘n’ forth between channels. Now though with this release presented in an attractive metalic case, I have finally got around to it. Robert DeNiro plays real-life boxer Jake LeMotta, a tough middle weight who’s personal life is almost as dramatic as his life in the ring. If he’s not sparring with his younger brother (a brilliant Joe Pesci in his first double-team with DeNiro, that he would later continue to great effect in GoodFellas and Casino), Jake is sparring with his wife (Kathy Moriatty) a beautiful blonde who always seemed out of his league and his jealousy and paranoia take their relationship to the very brink and back. Yet this is also a boxing film, and famed director Martin Scorsese delivers in ultra real and bloody bouts that will linger long in the memory. Scorsese stages every fight like the set peice in a John Woo movie and its stylish, violent and unforgettable – making Rocky look like a children’s film. The acting on show here is first class, especially DeNiro who has never looked meaner, and goes from peak fitness champ to tubby has-been throughout, and its a marvel to see, considering he put the weight on and lost it himself – no fancy effects here, my friends! So yes this is a classic, and filmed in iconic black ‘n’ white its every bit as eye-catching as it was back in 1980 when it was pretty much ignored by the Oscar academy, despite several nominations – a travesty!
This edition houses a wealth of material, documentaries and interviews, comparisons between DeNiro and the real Jake LaMotta, as well as an always worth while commentary track from Scorsese. Yet if you have previous releases like the Special Edition and then the Ultimate Edition, only the fancy packaging may lure you.
Verdict: 4 /5