Bleed For This is a decently entertaining boxing film. It is perfectly watchable, but by no means a classic of the genre.
World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza is known for never giving up. When an accident threatens not only his career, but his life, it looks as if his boxing days are over. Vinny, however, wishes to prove the naysayers wrong…
Based on the true story of boxer Vinny Pazienza, Bleed For This follows the hallmarks of the boxing film. By the time the montage sequence rolls around in the first third, viewers will recognise the conventions. However, the accident puts a spin on things, and the film becomes more of a triumph over adversary.
Director and co-writer Ben Younger has created the archetypal boxing movie with Bleed For This. It follows a simple narrative to Rocky et al, following an underdog as he hopes to beat the odds. Younger’s film can be distinguished from others in the genre by the fact that it is based on real events. Besides this, however, there is little to make the film stand out.
The film blends drama and comedy, amongst the sports narrative. The film is very Hollywood in its style. Younger adds some nice touches, like the home video-style footage. The fight sequences are well executed; editing in the scenes add to the tension. Bleed For This focuses on Vinny and his relationship with those close to him. It is a male-heavy film; females are strictly supportive or viewed through a voyeuristic gaze. The film feels macho, a throwback to the era it is set in, perhaps. Miles Teller offers a strong performance as Vinny. Ciarán Hinds is decent as his father, whilst Aaron Eckhart is almost recognisable as coach Kevin.
Bleed For This is enjoyable and well executed. Compared to the recent Creed, however, it does not put its head above the parapet.
Bleed For This is being screened at BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.