Bleed for This Movie Review
Miles Teller delivers a knockout performance in the solid boxing drama Bleed for This, which, unlike most other boxing movies, isn’t your typical underdog story but rather a comeback from a nearly fatal incident.
Bleed for This is based on the true story of Vinny Panienza, who, after becoming world champion, crushes his neck in a car accident. Despite everyone telling him that his boxing days are over (and that he may never even walk again), Binny is determined to make it back to the ring.
In many ways, Bleed for This follows the trajectory of so many other boxing movies… a talented but hot-headed fighter suffers some kind of loss, gets a new trainer who whips him back into shape, and then he goes on an odds-defying run to win the big fight at the end. And in the context of other boxing movies, at least from a sport perspective, Bleed for This isn't as thrilling, motivating or exciting.
But Bleed for This really isn't like all other boxing movies. More than most, the movie relies on the performance of the lead--and Teller nails it, once again making his case that he is one of the most talented actors working today--to deliver the goods, because the crux of the film is not boxing but an amazing story of perseverance and recovery. Director Ben Younger (Boiler Room) and Teller hold nothing back, walking the audience through the painful and nearly implausible process Panienza suffered through to make it back.
Teller is surrounded by an impressive cast, most notably a nearly unrecognizable Aaron Eckhart, who delivers one of the best performances of his career. Ciarán Hinds is also excellent as Panienza’s father.
As a sports movie, Bleed for This doesn't quite have the rewatchability as Creed or other boxing classics, but it's a superbly made, impressively acted drama nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.