Bleed for This

Drama,Biography

Big-hearted, but slightly undercooked boxing tale is an Oscar contender Discuss this article

2016_1_bleedforthis
© ITP Images

A troubled boxer. A committed coach. A horrifying accident. A lot of tears and yelling. Yes, if your problem with Million Dollar Baby was the lead character’s gender, welcome to Bleed for This, in which Miles Teller takes the well-trodden shortcut to Oscar glory by playing a battered pugilist with a heart of gold. This time, the story’s (mostly) true: Vincent Pazienza, aka the Pazmanian Devil, was an Italian-American fighter from Rhode Island who built his reputation with a string of wins under the direction of Mike Tyson’s old coach, Kevin Rooney. A spinal injury put Pazienza out of action, seemingly for life. But this kid had heart…

Bleed for This has awards-bait scrawled all over it, but it’s hard to imagine it scooping any major gongs: like Vinny himself, it’s more feisty scrapper than serious heavyweight champ. It’s difficult to dislike: the story may be hokey but it’s real, and so is the sentiment behind it.

The direction by Boiler Room veteran Ben Younger is solid, and the story is compelling.

But it just never quite reaches the heights of bigger, better boxing movies, from Raging Bull to Creed – the ringside scenes never knock you back, and the script verges on complacency. Bleed for This works up a good sweat, but it never quite lands that killer punch.

The bottom line
Big-hearted, but slightly undercooked boxing tale.

By Tom Huddleston
Time Out Doha,

Bleed For This

  • Duration: 116
  • Released: Fri, 18 Nov
  • Language: English,French
  • Director: Ben Younger
  • Stars: Miles Teller, Katey Sagal, Ted Levine

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