Bleed For This: An Inspiring Story But Far From A Knock-Out

by : Tom Percival on : 05 Dec 2016 17:49
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Ben Younger’s boxing drama may tell an astonishing true story, with an excellent lead performance from Miles Teller, but it severely lacks originality, emotion and a spark.

Cinema and boxing go hand in hand and have done for many years. So it is no surprise that yet another boxing movie has arrived on our big screens.

Bleed For This tells the inspirational true story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller).

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After being involved in a near fatal car crash which saw doctors telling him that he may never be able to walk again, Pazienza decided to ignore all advice and attempt boxing again.

It really is an extraordinary story and could have made for an excellent film adaptation. However, Bleed For This just lacks the emotion and spark it needed in order to pack a punch.

It is quite a shame actually as the film has some really strong and enjoyable elements, alongside the remarkable story.

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The cast all give stellar performances, with some particularly standing out just in time for the award season.

A buffed up Miles Teller proves once again that he is a strong leading man as he excels as the determined Pazienza.

Teller never loses the boxer’s cockiness throughout the film, but you can also see a tinge of vulnerability and anxiety in his eyes as he faces a life-threatening situation.

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The young actor is certainly proving himself to be a one to watch out for in the future.

Although it is Teller’s show Aaron Eckhart should also be expecting award nominations on his door step.

The unrecognisable Eckhart hasn’t had much to shout about in recent years but he is a very good actor and proves this with a strong performance as trainer Kevin Rooney.

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Ciarán Hinds and Katey Sagal also deliver fine performances as Vinny’s mother and father.

One of the reasons why cinema and boxing go hand in hand is because it allows for some beautiful cinematography, if it is done right.

Thankfully this aspect is completely nailed and we become absorbed by the grim and brutal yet also flashy world of boxing.


Excellent use of music and sound mixing too gives the fighting sequences energy and I can guarantee you that you will not be able to get the Willis Earl Beal song, Too Dry to Cry, out of your head.

However, the film just becomes flattened by poor storytelling and an overuse of tired clichés.

It must be hard to avoid clichés when you are making a boxing film, but there are just too many in Bleed For This and it is quite frankly boring.

Rather than feel inspired and uplifted by the astonishing story, the film leaves you feeling rather ‘meh’ about it all really as it never grips the audience.

Despite being a lacklustre adaptation, this is a story that needs to be heard.


Words by Emily Murray

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

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