Bleed for This
Writer-director Ben Younger gives us the story of champion boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller), who suffered a broken neck in a near-fatal auto accident in 1991 at the height of his career; warned he might never walk and would certainly never fight again, Pazienza returned to the ring 13 months later in an amazing comeback. Younger has a dramatic story (hewing reasonably close to the facts) and a first-rate cast—besides Teller, there are Aaron Eckhart as Pazienza’s trainer, Ted Levine as his manager and Ciarán Hinds and Katey Sagal as his parents—and Younger imbues the picture with a palpable air of grubby, sweaty working-class realism. The movie never really overcomes the basic familiarity of its formula—Triumph Over Adversity (Sports Division)—but within those limits, it’s extremely well-done. J.L.