Risk and gamble. While these ideas seem mutually exclusive, Bleed For This examines the necessity of both when it comes to chasing your dreams, and in the process deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other great boxing films like The Fighter, Rocky, and Raging Bull.
Bleed For This is based on the true story of Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza (Miles Teller), a local Providence boxer who shoots to stardom after winning two world title fights. After a near-fatal car accident leaves him with a broken neck, he is told he may never walk again. Against all odds and doctor’s orders, renowned trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) agrees to help Vinny return to the ring just a year after the accident for what could be the last fight of his life.
Like David O. Russell in The Fighter and Martin Scorcese in Raging Bull, director Ben Younger sets a frenetic pace with superb action in the ring and he doesn’t shy away from the very adult world of professional boxing. Younger uses tight shots to convey the sense of danger and risk every time Pazienza steps into the ring. Of course, the camera work can only do so much. Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart do an amazing job as their characters learn when to take a risk, and when to gamble.
While the cast is filled with great actors and actresses from top to bottom, some of the performances border on caricature, specifically some of Pazienza’s family members. It’s mostly forgivable though, as they are responsible for some truly hilarious scenes that help cut the tension during Pazienza’s unbelievable journey.
Pazienza was a gambler by nature but he learned that sometimes you have to consider your circumstances, and take a calculated risk. It’s a good lesson to learn, and it was a joy to watch it play out on the screen. Would I recommend this movie? You can bet on it.
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
Directed by: Ben Younger
Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katy Sagal, Ted Levine
Written by: Ben Younger, Angelo Pizzo, Pippa Bianco
Run time: 1h 56min
Release date: November 18, 2016
This is a guest post written by Andrew A., a movie fan and father of two.