“Bleed for This” was one of the few films for the Oscar season that I was pretty excited to see. I love boxing films, with some of them being my favorite films of all time, like “Rocky,” “Raging Bull” and “The Fighter.”
“Bleed for This” is based on the true story of former world champion Vinny Pazienza, who tried to get back in the ring after suffering a serious car accident that almost took his life. Miles Teller portrays the Italian-American boxer, and we know that Teller is an actor who can do well when given the right material. He has succeeded in great films like “The Spectacular Now” and “Whiplash,” but how does this one measure up?
It upsets me to report that this wasn’t a strong film like the boxing films I mentioned, as well as some of Teller’s other works. This isn’t a bad film by any means. However, it was extremely disappointing for me personally. I’ll start off by saying, Teller is fantastic as Pazienza, as is Aaron Eckhart who portrays Pazienza’s trainer, Kevin Rooney. Their back-and-forth is brilliant, and I thought of them as another Rocky and Mickey. The acting performances are good, but the film surrounding them isn’t superb.
The story is basic and not very compelling. You would think a story about “the greatest comeback in boxing history” would be great, but it falls flat. The film lacks any emotional depth that we’ve seen in recent boxing films, particularly “Creed” from last year. I wish the fim had more layers around Pazienza’s family, as the film gives them an extensive amount of screen time. If the development of the family’s narrative was more extensive, then I could’ve been more engrossed by their presence, especially Pazienza’s father/manager.
How are the boxing scenes? Unfortunately, they weren’t well-done or memorable. Whenever you go into a boxing film, you want to enjoy those sequences and this film doesn’t have any that were well-done. The film tried too hard to imitate the boxing scenes from more acclaimed films.
I really wanted more from “Bleed for This,” and I was let down by it. I recommend waiting for Redbox or Netflix to see it. There’s no need to rush out and watch it in the theatre.