Paul (Joseph) Schrader David Denby - Essay

David Denby

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Raging Bull is about a man with an iron skull and no brains inside, an enduring but mysteriously wretched man who can't trust anyone or enjoy himself and who finally destroys all his relationships through jealousy, paranoia, and fear. [Jake La Motta's] smile says that he's crazy and that his inhuman strength comes out of the craziness. Just as in the sentimental and melodramatic fight movies of the forties, to which this movie is a sour rejoinder, Jake is a Bronx slum boy, and the mob wants a piece of him. Only this time there's no upbeat ending: Jake may break free of the mob, but he can't break free of himself.

Directed by Martin Scorsese … and written by Mardik Martin and Paul Schrader,...

(The entire section is 617 words.)