mon 21/08/2017

DVD/Blu-ray: Bleed For This | reviews, news & interviews

DVD/Blu-ray: Bleed For This

DVD/Blu-ray: Bleed For This

Miles Teller stars in the true story of Vinny Pazienza, the boxer who didn't know he was beaten

Shouldn't have been a contender: Miles Teller as Vinny Pazienza with Ciarán Hinds and Aaron Eckhart

Of all the major sports, boxing has much the most distinguished filmography. Of course that’s to the Homeric nature of the contest. With the honourable exception of Raging Bull, the best fight films are at least semi-fictionalised, from Rocky to The Fighter. The dramatised lives of Rocky Marciano, Muhammad Ali, and Jack Dempsey were less of a knockout, which is why there shouldn’t have been high expectations about Bleed For This, a biopic which tells the story of Vinny Pazienza, a world champ whose career was cut short by a car crash in which he broke his neck.

Mystifyingly, the story is much less celebrated than it should be, as it’s up there with Bob Champion recovering from cancer to win the Grand National, but that works in the favour of its breakout moment in Ben Younger’s film. It’s much better not to know what happens when Pazienza, from a close-knit family of Italian Americans in Providence, New Jersey, decides to clamber back into the ring. Encasing his neck in a stabilising metal frame kept in position by screws in his cranium, his surgeons weren’t certain he’d ever walk again, let alone duck and weave and take blows to the head. Best not google the outcome, or watch the brief extras on this release, before entering the ring with Pazienza. Let’s just say that, unlike Jake LaMotta, Pazienza was determined not to slump into retirement with a heap of regrets.

Pazienza played by Miles Teller with the same obsessive-compulsive buzz he brought to bashing skin in Whiplash. Aaron Eckhart as his embattled coach and Ciarán Hinds as his over-protective dad are further reasons to get ringside for the visceral and extremely convincing fight scenes. Bleed For This doesn’t change the course of cinema, but it’s a lean and efficient bit of nailbiting sports storytelling.

@JasperRees

Mystifyingly, the story is much less celebrated than it should be

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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