Bleed for This review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
Poignant and adroit in its own sense of merit – Bleed for This is an unforgettable theater release that will shake the hearts and minds of many. It tells the story of Vinny Pazienza (played by Miles Teller) in an atypical underdog-turned-champion fashion with a twist in the middle. It’s beautifully shot, carefully edited and composed to near perfection, which along with Teller’s convincing performance, amounts to a slice of cinema that everyone should go and see (especially true for aspiring sportsmen and people who need a general motivational boost).
Bleed for This follows Rhode Island-born boxing champion Vinny Paz through his trials and tribulations, and shows how a person can stand up against life circumstances with the right state of mind. That isn’t to say that director Ben Younger’s piece is preachy: its message lies scattered among the many fails Vinny will experience during his professional boxing career.
As Vinny progresses through the many fights he wins, he is still not satisfied with his training regimen and most of all – his trainer. Afterwards, after a heated argument with his manager Lou Duva (played by Ted Levine), Vinny gets acquainted with a new trainer called Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart) – who in turn has been working and subsequently been fired by none other than Mike Tyson. Kevin decides to bump up Vinny Paz and his tactics prove successful after his protégé manages to snatch yet another title – this time in the Light Middleweight category.
Unfortunately, as all things in life, Vinny’s advances end up by a sudden accident from outside the ring. He suffers a serious injury and word is he may not even walk again for the rest of his life. For a film of this caliber, it’s expected that such turn of events would not stop our protagonist, and so he starts recovery sooner than what everyone anticipated. The fighting gods are pleased.
Bleed for This features great writing, courtesy of both director and scribe Ben Younger, and cinematography even Stallone’s Rocky to be jealous of. Furthermore, it shows how the actors try to give their best and most of the time, they succeed in doing so. Among Miles Teller, another big standout is Ted Levine, who comes off super hard and gives that authoritative mentor vibe that scares everyone in its wake. Katey Segal as Pazienza’s mother basically melts together with her given role.
Despite several sports clichés, Bleed for This is by no means a naïve flick and will most certainly stoically stand against the upcoming ravages of time. One of the brighter spots among countless other archetypal motivational-nonsense that pollutes the drawers of the movie industry.