If you’re making a boxing movie then you’re always going up against classic heavy-hitters like Rocky and Raging Bull but Ben Younger’s Bleed For This certainly has the ‘eye of the tiger’. It punches above its weight and while it might not be a knock-out classic, it does pack a solid punch.
Younger’s film tells the story of Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller), the real-life boxer who is about to make a big splash when he breaks his neck in a car accident. It looks like he might never walk again, never mind box, but Pazienza makes a remarkable comeback, not only getting back on his feet, but also back in the ring.
Bleed For This really works because of the casting. Miles Teller is committed as Pazienza (with the worst moustache in cinematic history), showing physicality and strength as the boxer whose biggest fight took place outside of the ropes. Teller might not have as much to work with as he did in Whiplash, but he once again shows that he’s one of best young actors working today. Movies In Focus favourite Aaron Eckhart also impresses as Kevin Rooney, the coach who helps bring out the best in the young boxer. Meanwhile other supporting roles are filled-out by Ciaran Hinds, Katey Sagal and Ted Levine (unrecognizable).
Boxing films tend to have a certain amount of cliches and Bleed For This certainly has its fair share. However, that adds to the enjoyment. Would audiences be satisfied if it didn’t feature a training montage? Younger’s film is energetic and precise and there’s plenty of humour to counter balance the drama. It’s the small character bits that hit hardest.
Bleed For This might have been floored at the box office, but there’s much to take away on the home viewing format. This is a well acted piece that’s certainly worth checking out for the performances.
You get five minutes of behind-the-scenes and some deleted scenes.