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Bleed for This

2017-04-28 06:54
 

What it’s about:

The inspirational true-life drama of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) who, after a near fatal car crash which left him not knowing if he'd ever walk again, made one of sport's most incredible comebacks.

What we thought:

Bleed for This is the perfect comeback story about the underdog and how if you are fine with the status quo you may never achieve something bigger. Yes, this is not just another sport movie, but also another boxing movie, something that has become quite a trend in this genre in the last couple of years, but there’s something different and unique about this film. The film does not go the Hollywood blockbuster route and instead is a beautifully crafted indie art flick full of heart and character.  

This is not just a great and highly underrated historical story being told well, but also a well crafted film in general with special credit having to go to the excellence in cinematography, editing and sound design of this film. What makes this film stand out against the other sport films is the fact that director Ben Younger didn’t just leave it up to the already existing story to play it out as it is, but gave special attention to creating the perfect 90’s working class USA mood and atmosphere. The end result is not perfect and might not be strong enough for an Academy award, but still there is something to this film, something that makes me prefer Bleed for This to Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher
 
One of the flaws in the film could be that despite the near two hour running time, the viewer does not get a good sense of Vinny Paz’s development as a world class sportsman, or how the recovery after the horrific accident went so smoothly. The best boxing films are the ones that focus more on the drama outside of the ring than inside it, and that's where Ben Younger gets it right with Bleed For This. Another pro which differentiates this film; Younger doesn’t just rely on action and fighting scenes, but lures the viewer fully into the character and his family’s world. It makes us as the viewer really wants to be there for the character and almost makes us leave the cinema wishing for more. You see this kind of phenomena when the filmmakers have a strong personal connection to the story and make a film for the sake of telling the story and making art instead of just filling their wallets.

The lead actors here are Miles Teller as Vinny Paz, Ciarán Hinds as his father and Aaron Eckhart as his boxing trainer. All of which give stellar performances, so much so that it’s easy to confuse Ciarán with a Robert De Niro every now and then. Teller never loses the cockiness of Pazienza, even when he faces a life without boxing, turning him into such a remarkable character. Except for seeing the young Miles Teller in another groundbreaking role shortly after Whiplash, it is also great to see Aaron Eckhart choosing a worthwhile role again for a change. What makes this film so special is that the whole film was made with a mere 6 million dollar budget and shooting only lasted 24 days.

Perhaps it is the personal drama they delve into, more than the boxing that makes this film so relatable to the audience. If you are into the sport films genre and enjoyed films like Rocky, Raging Bull or even Money Ball, or just a lover of great underdog stories, I would definitely recommend booking your seat for Bleed for This. 

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