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Raging Bull is not a boxing movie. It is a movie about how one man’s self-destruction and anger cost him everything.
Jake LaMotta was on the road to success. He had a brother that had his back and a girlfriend who loved him. He was an incredibly talented boxer. However, one thing got in his way: himself. Throughout the film there are boxing sequences. These sequences are a visual representation of Jake’s mind. A perfect example of this is when we see Jake ask Vickie about a comment she made earlier about a boxer that he is about to fight; he is worried that she is cheating on him. The conversation doesn’t calm Jake and instead does the opposite. We can see the anger brewing inside of Jake. It quickly cuts to the boxing match in which Jake vents his anger onto his opponent. His tendencies of jealousy destroy him. He ruins all of his relationships with his family because of his anger and accusations that Vickie is cheating on him.
The opening shot depicts exactly who Jake LaMotta is. We see an empty ring, no one inside except Jake. The ropes of the ring in the foreground mirror a cage. We see him shadow boxing. He is wild beast fighting his one true opponent, himself. This shot illustrates the way that Jake continuously demolishes his life by fighting when he doesn’t need to.
This film depicts a man that could’ve had everything, but instead lost it due to his inability to control his rage. In the only part of the movie that has color in it (besides the main titles in the beginning) we see Jake, his wife, and his brother all happy. They laugh and smile, he even has a baby. This shows how life could have been. Jake would have been happy and successful but his continuous thoughts that everyone is against him blinded him with anger. In the end, Jake tries to make up with his brother after accusing him that he slept with his wife, but it seems like it’s just too late.
This film reminds us that there are people around us that truly have our best interest at heart. We must remember not to shove these people away, but instead to trust them and allow them to help us.