A strong telling of an inspiring true story.
Miles Teller’s films tend to vary in quality. On one hand, there’s the brilliant Whiplash (2014) but then there’s also the 2015 Fantastic Four, which was one of the year’s biggest flops. Despite this, he has proven he is a very talented actor and can provide some very strong performances, which is certainly the case with Bleed for This.
Bleed for This follows ex-boxer Vinny Paz (formerly Pazienza) and his incredible comeback from a spinal injury which threatened not only his career, but his standard of life too. Teller provides a very strong and convincing performance as Vinny which aids the film’s telling of the story very well. He’s likeable, he’s funny, cocky and a genuinely nice guy, which certainly wins the audience’s sympathy for him once he suffers his injury.
Throughout the film various characters, including his manager, tell Vinny to give up boxing (both before and especially after the injury). However it is Vinny’s grit and determination which powers the narrative forward, which Teller portrays very well. With Kevin Rooney’s (played by Aaron Eckhart) guidance and specialised training the two attempt to get Vinny back in the ring and back in the fight. It’s this resilience and never say die attitude that makes the film so engaging and inspiring. It isn’t an easy road to recovery and the film shows this. Vinny struggles with everyday life, like getting out of the car, eating food etc. which makes his slow and gradually progressive road to recovery very enjoyable to see. In the face of ruin and a career and life destroying injury Vinny does not give in, and the fact that it is based on a true story makes this all the more powerful.
Although the film’s momentum seems to drop at times, it still stands as a strong script and enjoyable tale to Ben Younger’s credit (writer and director). With some creative and unique uses of sound and cuts the film doesn’t feel as familiar as boxing films can be, which is certainly refreshing. The selection to shoot fake archive footage of Teller training brings an almost documentary feel to the film which provides a very real feel to throughout, a constant reminder of how incredible this real life comeback really is.
All in all, if you enjoy boxing films, if you enjoy films ‘based on true stories’ then this is certainly worth a watch. It adds to the list of strong modern boxing films like Warrior (2011), Creed (2015) and Southpaw (2015) with the added relevance of a true story.
Everyone likes a good underdog or a comeback story, and Bleed for This is certainly that. It’s an engaging, emotional and inspirational true story of a man who refuses to give up the fight.