Raging Bull: 30th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] Martin Scorsese

Raging Bull: 30th Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray] Martin Scorsese
There isn't a great deal left to say about Raging Bull or Martin Scorsese's fascination with violence and the sociological factors that purport its simultaneous legitimacy and illegality, given the cultural ubiquity of the title and the man himself. It's like the water cooler white noise of the cineaste world, falling into background commonality without undue extrapolation, understood without added dissection. But in revisiting the monochromatic biopic about former world middleweight boxing champion Jake LaMotta after sifting through Scorsese's hit-and-miss resume, there's a resurgence in understanding just how it is that this film developed its prestige. Bio-pics are usually terrible, insomuch as historical accuracy often quashes thematic development, resulting in a flat, disengaging exercise in technical acuity and aesthetic minutia. Raging Bull doesn't fall into this trap, taking the life of LaMotta (Robert De Niro) and examining the relentless rage and aggression that brings success in the boxing ring while destroying life outside of it. There's also the factor of performance, with De Niro embodying a truly loathsome character with sincere analysis, pushing his externality (going from prime physical fitness to a dumpy has-been) as hard as the troubled internal psychology necessary to pull this off. And, of course, there's the direction ― specifically within the boxing ring ― which not only captures the propulsive externality of professional fighting, but the social ambiguity of such gruesome spectacles outside of the ring and the sense of stillness and quiet realization within. It's interesting to learn on one of the new supplements included with this Blu-Ray that the boxing element was the one thing that turned Scorsese off about making this film, given his unglamorous and thoughtful dissection of the sport on screen. The Blu-Ray also has new featurettes on Scorsese's film education, a gathering of the Veterans Boxing Association and a "Raging Bull: Reflections on a Classic" supplement, where filmmakers Kimberly Peirce, Richard Kelly and Scott Cooper prove that just because you make movies doesn't mean you actually know anything about theory and analysis. Carried over from the Collector's Edition DVD are three commentary tracks, the feature-length, four-part documentary "Raging Bull: Fight Night," "The Bronx Bull" critical analysis, vintage newsreels, a shot-by-shot comparison of De Niro and LaMotta in the ring, and an extremely awkward Johnny Carson appearance by Cathy Moriarty. It's extensive and quite impressive, even if the HD transfer of the film looks like crap and the dialogue is often inaudible. (Fox)