A little warning before I start, most of my reviews from now on are probably going to be short and brief because of my limited time [I’m trying to watch 3 movies a day now]. So, in advance, don’t expect and awesome, in-depth review because I simply don’t have enough time now.
Robert De Niro is one of my favourite actors so I’m going to be a little biased and say that his acting in this is phenomenal, maybe not the best I’ve seen but it was still pretty damn good, especially all the breaking-down scenes.
The beginning has lovely classical music and it has Jake [De Niro] firing himself up in the boxing ring in slow motion; it almost looks like ballet because its so graceful. We see him at the height of his game, then the lowest part where he’s overweight and reciting a ‘comedy’ routine and then it goes BANG into the middle of the fighting action. I think I really loved this beginning from an editing point of view. All the editing in this movie is great because it has moments of visual slow-motion but ‘normal’ sound and it amplifies or gives us the biggest hint that something has caught Jake’s eye and we all know what he’s going to do/feel. I also loved it in the middle of the movie where it’s a little montage filled with title cards telling us the date and fight, photos of the fights rather than film and home movies of Jake’s private life [marriage and kids]. That’s how you do a montage! I just read that this movie won best editing at the 1980 Oscars and rightfully so, I felt very inspired [I want to be a movie editor when I finish college/university, by the way!]
I’m sorry but as brilliant as Cathy Moriarty is [who plays Jake‘s 2nd wife], she does NOT look 15! She’s actually 20 when she filmed it which is amazing as she looks like she’s in her late 20s. Also, talking about the wives, its horrible how Jake, Joey [Jake’s brother] and all the men treat the women in this movie. I suppose that’s the 40s for you.
If you’re grossed out by blood, maybe you should give this movie a miss! During some of the fights, you can actually see the blood pouring out of the sides of their noses and eye brows!! Like water pistols!
Its interesting to see a person more paranoid that me [lol]! Its also quite horrible and frustrating seeing someone think the worse in everyone and get angry and jealous of the smallest, stupidest things. However, there is something about Joey and De Niro’s acting that makes me so angry at Jake but at the same time, I still feel sorry for him and want the best for him. You’d think with someone who gets jealous and beats everyone, you wouldn’t want the best and you hoped they’d eventually get their comeuppance but when Joey does, I just wanted to hug him and say everything was going to be alright!
“D’you f*** my wife? D’you f*** my wife?” I’m sorry but I just burst out laughing at this part because I kept thinking about Eddie Izzard when he was talking about British films Vs American films.
The make-up and dedication from De Niro was amazing! They did an amazing job on making the bruising and swelling up on the face during the fights! Then when Jake retires, his nose is massive from all the breaks and his eyebrows droop over his eyes like old people’s eyebrows do! Then De Niro gained looooads of weight but it all went to his tummy so he looked pregnant. Apparently he went on a food binging trip around Italy and France for 4 months so he could get fat for the role. The fat scenes were filmed within 7-8 weeks because De Niro was facing health problems, like his posture, breathing and talking, due to his rapid, unnatural weight gain! These method actors are mental.
I probably missed out loads of key points as to what makes this movie so great but I’ve got to shut up and finally watch Schindler’s List that I’ve been putting off watching for weeks because I know it’ll make me cry and feel sick. Anyways, it is a good movie but I wouldn’t put it in my personal top 10.