Bleed for this – The ‘Pazmenian Devil’s’ tale

Cast :- Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Ciaran Hinds

Genre :- Drama, Sports, Biography

Director :- Ben Younger

So, “Bleed For This” is a true story based on the struggle of the boxer Vinnie “The Pazmenian Devil” Pazienza – a boxer in the 1980s who had a struggle following his car accident that damaged his neck and threatened to end his fighting career for good. The movie follows his rise to fame and his crippling accident where his determination and perseverance. His accident took him through a path of understanding and a revelation that made him realise how much he wanted to fight and proved the whole world wrong as to what he could or could not do.

Kevin Rooney: I mean, you just don’t know how to give up.

Vinny Pazienza: No, I do. Trust me, I do. I know exactly how to give up. You know what scares the shit out of me, Kev? Is that it’s easy.

The movie is based on this incident more or less and thus, the plot details needn’t be explained.

the championship match

Let’s directly jump to the acting and the art of filmmaking here.

So, the cast puts together a solid job. Though it wasn’t a breathtaking act until the crucial moments it still was a bang-on job.

  1. Miles Teller – this man was an acting marvel in this film. I have seen his films before and most of them were disappointments except a few like Whiplash and a few others but his role in this one was exemplary. I say this because I delayed this movie until the absolute end and finally ended up watching it on a plane heading to India. But, the anger and desperation he shows to prove he is still fightworthy were absolutely stunning.
  2. Aaron Eckhart plays Kevin Rooney – Vinny Pazienza’s trainer- At first I was in disbelief seeing him in the film because of the stature and physique he had developed for the film. The belly and half bald head were all things you wouldn’t expect Aaron Eckhart to pull off. He plays Vinny’s (Miles Teller) experienced and critical trainer. The character background and training he brings to the table were exceptional.
  3. Ciaran Hinds – Father of Vinny – Angelo plays a remarkable supporting actor. I felt he could have done more but sadly that’s how the script was. They were focussing on the Boxer Vinny and his injury rather than the Pazienza’s.
  4. Floyd Mayweather – He had a cameo for the first match that Vinny loses. His cameo was remarkably placed to replace his uncle Roger Mayweather in the match in 1988. I actually wondered how old could Floyd Mayweather be seeing him there.
  5. Other actors played good supporting characters but nothing incredible to mention about their performances.

Let’s take a look at the film in a whole. I quite liked the film as I had hardly seen the trailer for the film even, thus locking in the surprise element. The only time a movie has done this to me was for ‘Rush’ because the final output of the film remained a mystery to me as I hadn’t googled up the man it was about.

The movie managed to lock in all aspects of the ‘Pazmenian Devil’. How, he fluctuated his weight category during training and before the fight, how his trainer suggested he stick to a weight category to regulate his fighting style amongst a lot of other things.

But in all honesty, the movie had a bland texture until the accident, which was the turning point for the film and it felt like it gave Miles Teller the push to act better as well. It might be just a hunch/analogy or it might have really happened, I have no idea. You can see the source material and acting tears start to get dense after the midpoint in the film as he gets into the accident.

The accident breaks his neck but luckily doesn’t paralyze him. The doctors suggest he get a neck fusion which was that time’s cutting edge surgical procedure that ensured he could walk or they could put the HALO around his neck and head that would get him to heal the wound in time. The former would finish his boxing career but allow him to walk in a very short time, while the HALO would fix the neck in six months time with no clear assurance as to WHEN or IF he could walk again. He takes the HALO and fixes himself up over a while, in the meantime after a few months he starts training to fight with his trainer who is reluctant at first but gradually agrees as he sees there is no way out from this. The scenes are very inspiring and the pain feels raw/real.

Removal of the HALO, which he undergoes without anesthesia


He gets a fight after searching for quite some time because nobody wants to send him back to the infirmary, turned down out of pity in a way. There are news clippings that show news broadcasters taking the HALO as a humorous turn of events telling “the Pazmanian Devil now sports a HALO.” You see them use the journey’s beginning and end reference at the exact moments that give a very impactful outcome not only for the fighter (the cliche moments in a boxing movie) but also hypes the viewer experience.

All in all, the movie is slow – a resolution to the genre but also tells the tale of the man who was on the losing end of a battle and rose to beat everyone’s expectations. A literal and visual portrayal of a tale of “Where there is a will, there is a way”. It is a true story and has actually happened in forgotten pages of the history books.

My Rating :- Beautiful Portrayal (room for improvement)



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