Miles Teller is truly desperate to prove he didn’t peak with Whiplash. For many, he did peak with Whiplash, as his output since then has been next to nothing – not to that same standard anyway. He’s still hungry for an Oscar, and his most recent biopic stint, Bleed for This, is a prime example of his abilities as a performer. It’s also a clear example of his failings as an Oscar bait, however hard he may try.
Teller plays Vinny Pazienza, a boxer who makes a resounding comeback after being involved in a horrific car accident. His performance here does capture the real life Pazienza somewhat – I just wish both Teller and Pazienza himself had been a little more interesting.
The rest of the cast bring somewhat similar results. Aaron Eckhart’s sporadic film appearances have landed him here, with a solid role as ever. Eckhart is very much the invisible man of Hollywood, he’ll often crop up to knock out a few performances and then go right back into hiding. A strange system he’s been doing since Thank You For Smoking. His performance here is forgettable, but I do remember it outshining Teller in some pieces of the movie, especially in the later scenes.
With a fairly decent chemistry between the two, it’s hard not to enjoy Bleed for This somewhat because of them. With Teller being the focus of the movie and Eckhart backing the performance with incredible strength, the two have a great on-screen bond that manages to translate well in the finished product.
For a first directing piece in over a decade, Ben Younger brings some nice ideas to the table. Very atypical of the genre, it sticks very closely to the expected stereotypes of the biopic style. That’s not necessarily a bad idea though, as it seems to work rather well throughout – especially since the plot isn’t all that interesting to begin with.
Still, it’s a solid break from the Rocky franchise, which certainly seems to have dominated the Boxing genre of movies. It slots in nicely, nowhere near as good as Journeyman but a hell of a lot better than Grudge Match. A definitely amazing story that should hopefully interest not just fans of Pazienza’s career but also fans of solid biopic movies.