Title – Bleed for This (2016)
Director – Ben Younger (Boiler Room)
Cast – Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ciarán Hinds, Katey Sagal
Plot – The true story of World Championship boxer Vinny Pazienza (Teller) who with the help of his trainer Kevin Rooney (Eckhart) overcame a potentially life threatening car crash injury to return to fight in the ring.
“Show me how you live. Show me how you fight!”
Review by Eddie on 20/09/2017
After some big hits and more than a few misses, the boxing film has been a long time staple of our multiplexes and a sub-genre of sporting film that has provided us with some of cinema’s all-time great feel good or dramatic experiences.
For each new boxing film that comes out, they now need to work harder and their punches need to land a bigger impact than the one before them and sadly Bleed for This doesn’t manage to climb above its genre tropes to become anything more than a tolerable boxing drama that’s void of the emotion that makes similar films like Rocky, Raging Bull and Creed work on a whole different level.
Telling the true life story of famous 1980’s American boxer Vinny Pazienza, Boiler Room director Ben Younger netted himself quiet the double bill of rising star Miles Teller to play the determined and feisty Pazienza and an overweight and balding method partaking Aaron Eckhart as Pazienza’s friend and trainer Kevin Rooney but Younger and the well-regarded duo fail to connect us emotionally to Pazienza’s fight to overcome an horrific car crash injury to box once more.
Both performers are solid in their roles, even if they feel more like imitations rather than full-fledged flesh and blood reincarnations but we’re never allowed deep into what makes these two different figures tick and despite the trial over adversity nature of what’s often occurring within Bleed for This, at the end of the day without the emotionally investment it’s too easy to not care.
The film as it stands also marks another disappointing experience from Teller in particular, who it could be argued goes a little to “awards baiting” here in his turn as Pazienza
There’s nothing majorly wrong with his performance but after Teller’s early breakouts in films like Whiplash and The Spectacular Now, the failure as a whole of Bleed for This alongside recent Teller events like Fantastic Four, Get a Job and the Divergent series mark a point in the young actors career when he is all of a sudden crying out for a decent hit and an individual role that once more utilises his undeniable talent.
Final Say –
There’s nothing in Bleed for This that makes it a must-see. For the most diehard of boxing fans and those that consider themselves Pazienza fans Younger’s film may be worthy of your time but for the rest of us, we’ve seen this type of boxing tale before countless times and with nothing new on the table presented here, it makes Bleed for This an instantly forgettable and rather unnecessary experience.
2 screws out of 5