Today: February 29, 2024

Bleed For This

A remarkable true-life tale that limps unconvincingly onto the screen, Bleed For This just doesn’t do justice to the never-say-die spirit of boxing comeback king Vinny ‘Paz Man’ Pazienza. The story of a three-weight world champ written off and reborn not once but twice should equal biopic gold, yet somehow – and sadly – it doesn’t quite work out that way. Ben Younger‘s film is earnest and well-intentioned, but its emotional gut punches never land. It’s lightweight.

A good deal of the blame lies with leading man Miles Teller (Whiplash, War Dogs). He’s great to begin with, playing ‘The Pazmanian Devil’ as a brash, earring-wearing playboy with a weakness for fast women, fast cars and the blackjack table. The opening set-piece where he barely makes weight, mocks his next opponent while wearing nothing but leopard-print budgie smugglers and then promptly eats the canvas works a treat. Instantly you’ve got a character to invest in – a blue-collar chancer with the gift of the gab if not (ahem) the gift of the jab.

The problems set in when we get to the two-for-one underdog routine, Pazienza bouncing back from a string of defeats to reclaim gold and then – after a brutal car accident leaves him with a severely broken neck – doing it all over again. Broadly sticking to the boxing movie blueprint is forgivable, Teller failing to properly sell the struggle of a man whose livelihood and reason for living is almost ripped away from him isn’t. His performance in the all-important middle act is flat and unengaging.

The flashy supporting roles produce mixed results too. Aaron Eckhart has his moments as a veteran trainer battling the demon drink, but Ciarán Hinds feels badly miscast as Vinny’s cartoonishly flamboyant old man. Still, at least he gets something to do. The film’s female contingent consists of fraught, almost mute mum Louise (Katey Sagal, completely wasted), a gaggle of unnamed relatives who crowd around the TV on fight night, and a revolving door of disposable, airhead bimbos.

Previous Story


Next Story

Triforce Short Film Festival Winners

Latest from Blog


Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Lone Star – Criterion Collection

Rarely in cinema do you come across a filmmaker as versatile as Lone Star writer-director John Sayles. Here is a man who cut his Hollywood teeth working for Roger Corman, got early

Paths of Glory

Paths of Glory is a curious beast. It’s a war film whose battles are mostly fought in a court room. It’s a Kubrick epic, that feels like a small, claustrophobic indie movie.


Monolith is a film that delights and surprises in equal measure. This low-fi, slow burn thriller is part science fiction, part social commentary, with just the right amount of bumps and jumps

Billions Complete Series Unboxing

As Paul Giamatti remains a frontrunner in the race for this year’s Academy Award for Best Actor with his beautifully layered performance in The Holdovers, there’s no better time to catch up

Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy Unboxing

The heat is on. Eddie Murphy’s beloved street-smart Detroit cop Axel Foley is coming back to our screens in the highly-anticipated fourth entry in the Beverly Hills Cop series this summer, so
Go toTop

Don't Miss


In a recent interview with The New York Times, Oppenheimer

Radiance Films Blu-ray Unboxings

There’s a new boutique label in town. Radiance Films promise