Bleed For This: Film Review 


I have been pretty fed up of boxing dramas in recent years because I think the genre has been done to death and they all follow the same formula. Bleed For This certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel but it felt refreshing in terms of tone and character.

Miles Teller plays real-life boxer Vincent Pazienza who is riding high on a title win when he is involved in a near-fatal car accident. His neck is broken and it’s uncertain if he will be able to walk again, let alone fight, but he won’t take no for answer and is determined to get back in the ring.

All boxing movies seem to be about fighters overcoming adversity and unbelievable odds to emerge the winner and although Bleed For This follows this pattern, the obstacles Vinny faces feel bigger, more insurmountable than the personal life challenges recently seen in Creed and Southpaw.

Those movies are also usually serious as hell and the characters are dark and brooding, so the film’s funny moments are a welcome change. It’s not a comedy by any means but it feels lighter and it made me chuckle a lot. The scene where Vinny gets his head brace removed without drugs is both grim and hilarious. Vinny himself is also a big character and Teller was perfectly cast to play this arrogant and cocky fighter who didn’t take the game super seriously to this determined and vulnerable guy post-accident. Vinny also moves weight classes a lot in the movie so that’s physically impressive – you can witness that yourself during one scene where Teller is wearing only a thong.

Aaron Eckhart is unrecognisable as his coach Kevin, complete with receding hairline and belly and plays a very different part – the drunk, angry guy, while Ciaran Hinds also looks remarkably different as his loud dad.

I enjoyed Bleed For This more than any other boxing movie in recent years because it’s funny, light-hearted and entertaining. What a pleasant surprise.

Originally seen as part of the BFI London Film Festival. In cinemas Friday 2nd December. 

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