If there is one film due to inspire in 2016 is Ben Younger’s Bleed For This, a true story on the devastating near fatal car crash that befell boxing champion Vinny Pazienza aka The Pazmanian Devil and his own personal fight to get himself back in the ring doing what he loves after everyone around him has written him off.
Bleed For This is written and Directed by Ben Younger, Vinny Pazienza is a working-class Rhode Island boxing hero. Vinny is a cocky, young man with the world at his feet, two winning world championship fights under his belt, living the high life whilst only just making weight. With a bright career ahead of him he is involved in a horrifying car crash, one in which he breaks his neck. Vinny is lucky to escape with his life, his doctors warn him he will never walk again and after only four days has a Halo surgery to attach a metal halo which if he slightly knocked could cause instant paralysis.
Bored with his bedridden life, Vinny pushes himself into training and persuades a reluctant Kevin Rooney to help train him without the knowledge of his family. Bulked up and two weights above his previous, just a year after his accident Vinny steps back into the ring beating the odds and silencing all those who said he would never box again.
Authentically shot there are a few scenes that stick out, the camera angle of the car crash makes it all too real and gut wrenching, whilst the moment the doctors are removing the screws from his head to remove the halo are also flinch-worthy. Real footage of the real Vinny was excellently placed in his returning fight making every punch and his recovery poignant.
Lead by an exceptional performance from Miles Teller as Vinny – who, without exception, excels in his dramatic roles more so than the awful comedies he must surely be forced to do – whilst this doesn’t compare to Whiplash it is by far his 2nd career best. We also witness a scene-stealing, almost unrecognisable, Aaron Eckhart, as renowned trainer Kevin Rooney, and what’s more, with his balding head and pot bellied stomach his dance moves are just killer.
Bleed For This relies heavily on its actors to inject life into an against all odds story we all know too well, it’s due to these performances that although an inspiring boxing biopic, it isn’t without its clichéd flaws. Martin Scorsese sits in the producer’s chair on this one and his American-Italian theme of needing to be heard overpowers in the form of Vinny’s family which occasional seem just a little off key.
Bleed For This hits cinemas December 2nd.