Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.
Whilst Bleed For This is a movie based upon the sport of boxing, the best moments of the film happen outside the four-posted arena. The crux of its drama centers around the performance given by Miles Teller as Vinny Pazienza, who really nails the character and his nightly interactions with the family at the dinner table, creating a relatable dynamic that you canít help but root and invest in. Special mention also has to go out to Aaron Eckhart as trainer Kevin Rooney and Ted Levine as Lou Duva, the duo completely absorb into their roles and become unrecognisable - a testament to their craft.
Unfortunately Miles Teller performance and the overall drama doesnít translate itself very well into the fisticuffs themselves. Whilst admittedly there are some beautiful shots - the opening knockout, bell-ringing loss comes to mind along with the crash itself - it's Miles on-screen boxing skills coupled with the approach to filming which leave a lot to be desired. To put it simply, they donít feel authentic, whether it's the long periods of just jogging around the ring with nary a shot thrown, or the awkward punches whiffing nothing but air yet seemingly making thunderous contact.
This unbelievability also translates into the story itself.
Bleed For This prides itself in being based upon a true story, but whenever a film like this steers itself off-road - into the territory of artificial drama - then it really makes you question what else isnít true. Case in point being Vinny Pazís return fight after recovering from the fractured spine, boxing aficionados will well know it was actually against Luis Santana - in what was a very one-sided affair. Instead, within Bleed For This heís matched up against Roberto Duran - admittedly a much bigger and well known name - a man who he did indeed face and beat twice later down the road, but why purposefully deceive the audience into believing it was his comeback fight? Itís a silly thing to do with a story that's already a miraculous feat in its own right.
Bleed For This is a movie that presents its best work outside of the ring, with Miles Teller as Vinny Paz coming across as not only believable but likeable. Writer and director Ben Younger also manages to capture some beautiful shots that standout from its ilk.
- 3 Out of 5 Stars
Bouts felt fake
Lack of meat in special features
Some beautiful shots
Miles as Vinny outside the ring
Aaron Eckhart & Ted Levine
Bleed For This
Release Date: 27th March
Runtime: 1 hr 57 min
Director: Ben Younger
Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, CiarŠn Hinds, Katey Sagal, Ted Levine, Amanda Clayton & Jordan Gelber
No, theres scenes of violence, bad language, sex and drug abuse.
Bleed For This filmed in the state of Rhode Island, using the actual locations where the real life events occurred.
Miles Teller trained with boxing trainer Darrell Foster, who'd trained fighters like Sugar Ray Leonard and helped Will Smith become Muhammad Ali for 2001's Ali.
This marks Ben Younger's first film in eleven years. The last film he directed was Prime in 2005.