My original plan was to review Moana or Sully this week, I have a schedule for the entire year on my phone planned. However, I decided to stop myself because I had seen the trailer for Bleed for This countless times and the impressiveness of the initial narrative has never reduced so I decided to do a complete U-turn on my schedule and watch Ben Younger’s boxing drama, with Martin Scorsese as executive produced which in all honesty was the ultimate point in my U-turn. Now I feel that abandoning my schedule wasn’t such a great idea.
Films based on a true story aren’t exactly my cup of tea when it comes to critiquing. Over the years of study in the art of film, I have had to develop something that is edgy and sometimes am not particularly proud of, a strong opinion. Having a strong opinion, after the screening of Bleed for This I thought to myself that maybe there were some scenes or points in the film narrative that could have be different, lasted shorter or longer or cut out altogether. Then I must slap myself in the face and tell myself “this is based on a true story” and some point in the story are some that a director can’t ignore.
Bleed for This is trying to be two things at once, there’s Vinny Pazienza’s road to recovery story with the goal of getting to fight again and there’s the internal feud with how his accident affects his family and coaching staff. When a film tried to tell two elements of the story, it should be an even spread with both narratives given equal amount of screen time to play out, that way he audience feels that the film maintains in order in the flow of the plot, Bleed for This struggles but attempts to do this, but the payoff isn’t attractive enough to create an emotional response from the audience.
One thing that I am glad the narrative did was establish an interesting circumstance to Vinny’s character before his accident. Vinny’s isn’t already in his prime by the time of the accident but rather he has only just got back into his peak form, this element was the establishment of character sympathy, to knock someone down while there on top of the world can be heartbreaking when done correctly.
Miles Teller plays Vinny who has become a big rising star since Whiplash, but in terms of acting performance, I feel as if his role in Whiplash was the peak of his acting talent, there no going forward in terms of having another groundbreaking performance. Don’t get me wrong, Miles is a very versatile actor but In Bleed for This it didn’t show through his character portrayal. For example, Vinny is established from the beginning of the film that he is eccentric and has a cocky attitude about him as evident by his Vegas lifestyle. However, in the heartbeat, he loses that cockiness and opts for a respectful character, it’s almost like a light switch the way Miles Teller can alter his acting style.
Aaron Eckhart plays Kevin Rooney Vinny’s alcoholic coach who, on the other hand, does give a good performance, his character seems to stress the importance of taking a risk and being thrown into the lion’s den (as quoted directly from the film) but he is on board with Vinny because he too has an underlying desire to get back into the ring and win championships.
I am forced to compare this film to Raging Bull and Creed, these two film are prime examples of translating the pain and force of the punches in a boxing match to the audience. why is it so successful? Because these two film through the enhanced sound of the punches and the way the camera is up close and personal with the two fighters make the pain of the boxing match believable. Bleed for This on the other hand, shoots its boxing matches from a distance. Seeing a punch impact on the body of a boxer in such detail relays more information about the punch to the audience, I guarantee that Bleed for This won’t have you screaming at the screen for Vinny to win, even if the other characters are doing so.
Even the car crash, which is the turning point in the film doesn’t feel much of a turning point because of the cinematographer’s choice to film from a distance and it follows the same example as the boxing matches flaws.
The film industry is constantly bombarded with premises and synopsis’ that sound like this is the film of the year yet when put into production can turn sour very quickly, Bleed for This is one of those premises. It manages to make a very intriguing and incredible true story of recovery seems as just another obligatory film based on a true story. There are brief moments when the film genuinely impresses you, but these are outweighed by the number of problems outlined in this review from the pacing of the narratives to the unimpactful turning points of the film.
Final Result: 3/10 – Poor
Have you seen Bleed for This? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Snowden