This week’s Movie Monologue Monday is going to look at Robert De Niro’s “That’s Entertainment” monologue from the beginning of Raging Bull.
It’s not flashy, not iconic like some of the monologues I’ve looked at in this series. It’s very simple, very intimate. An actor alone in his dressing room prepares to go onstage. He runs through some of his material, flubbing and adjusting as he goes.
Economy of movement is key in this piece. His feet rarely stray, maybe one tiny step. He takes his time, pausing to think, pausing to light his cigar, pausing to remember the next line. And though it’s not immediately obvious (because his tone is so still and quiet) the monologue builds and builds towards a subtle climax.
It’s not a long piece and I recommend watching it several times. His command of the craft is pretty darn remarkable. It really is amazing how strong a performance can be when you do “almost nothing.”