The actors took unique measures in order to portray these sports characters who were past their prime. De Niro had to gain over 50 pounds, and Rourke had to do extensive body building. Their efforts paid off with international recognition.
The directors also made interesting choices, as they both adopted a documentary styled approach in their story telling.
Raging Bull (1980) is directed by Martin Scorsese, and stars Robert De Niro. Their long standing partnership paid off again in what some think is their finest film. Raging Bull is shot in stark black and white, which was a bold choice at the time. It was partly meant to be a comment from Scorsese about the problems with the fading of color film stock.
The central character, Jake La Motta, reacts viscerally to the circumstances that confront him. Raging Bull is about as far from a feel-good movie as you can get. It is, however, a masterfully told yet matter of fact account of a very brutal man.
The Wrestler (2008) is directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Mickey Rourke, who gives his finest performance to date. Marisa Tomei also gives her absolute all in a wonderful supporting role. The Wrestler finds a well balanced spot between the inspiration of Rocky and the bleakness found in Raging Bull.
The choices of shooting on Super 16mm film stock and adding a 1980s metal soundtrack perfectly reflect where Randy “The Ram” Robinson came from. Any perceivable problems with the script or other performances are well outweighed by the film’s utter magic.
Until next time, I hope you have a great viewing experience. Comments are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.