TIFF16: Bleed for This

A world champion boxer comes back from a supposedly career-ending injury in Bleed for This. Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) is a young boxer with a “never give up” attitude. However, he keeps losing fights and his manager Lou (Ted Levine) encourages him to just thrown in the towel. When Vinny refuses to hang it up, he is sent to down on his luck trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), who decides the Vinny needs to be fighting at a higher weight class. The gamble works with Vinny winning a championship fight. However, soon afterwards, Vinny gets into a near-fatal car accident, which brings the future of his fighting career into question.

Bleed for This is a biopic of world champion boxer Vinny Pazienza, who managed to come back from a serious injury, despite everyone around him telling him otherwise. At the core of the story is Paz’s relationship with is trailer Kev, who once was the trainer of Mike Tyson, but is now struggling with alcohol abuse. When it becomes apparent that Vinny isn’t planning to retire, Kev secretly begins training him to rehabilitate Vinny’s broken neck and prepare for a possible return to the ring.

Miles Teller is fine in the lead role of Vinny Pazienza, even though he is acting with his poor excuse of a mustache than anything else. That said, Bleed for This probably has Aaron Eckhart’s best performance in years, which shows that he really needs to take more dramatic roles. There is also a notable performance by Ciarán Hinds as Vinny’s father Angelo. While not quite on the same level as something like The Fighter, Bleed for This is still an enjoyable boxing biopic.

8 / 10 stars

Screening Times:

  • Tuesday, September 13, 12:00 PM – Ryerson Theatre
  • Saturday, September 17, 2:45 PM – Visa Screening Room (Elgin)

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).