Production: USA, 1980
Director: Martin Scorsese
Category: Violence
If Martin Scorsese’s earlier Taxi Driver was largely concerned with violence and psychosis, Raging Bull – his biographical portrait of boxer Jake LaMotta – was almost purely about male violence and uncontrollable anger, both inside and outside the ring; not with guns, but a more primal, naked, direct violence of fists pulping flesh and cracking bone. Shot in black-and-white as Scorsese’s protest over the deterioration of colour stock used to shoot “classic” Hollywood movies, Raging Bull never flinches from showing the fighter’s blood that sprays across the evening dresses of the spectators, or the blind machismo which drives LaMotta (played by Robert De Niro) to brutally assault his wife and his own brother. Scorsese later made two great gangster films – both with De Niro – and the highlights of both are also scenes of extreme, sickening violence, both drawn from real life. In Goodfellas, he recreates the murder of New York mobster William “Billy Batts” Devino, savagely beaten by three men in a bar and then later stabbed over thirty times and buried in a shallow grave; in Casino, we see first the torture-murder of a hoodlum whose head is crushed in a vise until his eye pops out and then has his throat slit, and later the scene which is probably the most disturbing in the director’s oeuvre, the murders of gangster Anthony “Tony the Ant” Spilotro and his brother Michael. In the film, both men are brutally budgeoned to pulp with baseball bats and then buried while still – just about – alive, although forensic evidence suggests that the real-life brothers were beaten and then strangled to death before burial.

Posted by Rictus-23

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