Thursday, 8 December 2016
REVIEW: BLEED FOR THIS
Creed For This.
117 Minutes. Starring: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Kathy Segal, Ciaran Hinds & Ted Levine. Director: Ben Younger.
CRASH! BANG! 'Whiplash'! Miles Teller actually claims that and then some as he enters the ring to 'Bleed For This' and portray divine Providence boxer Vinny 'The Pazmanian Devil' Pazienza, who took the wrong turn on a highway one day and ended up in a spin cycle that rinsed him and put this red corner devil in a halo . Quite the canvas for his career as his spine was one hit or getting up out the car akwardly bump away from paralysis. But then again this is quite the real life comeback story boxing movies like 'Creed' and the 'Rocky' legacy wish they could script. Because this 'Cocky Balboa' takes a 'Southpaw' hit (and we aren't talking about the underrated 'Fantastic Four' reboot mister!) and comes back swinging with an extended arm like Gyllenhaal, taking its place on the steps between 'Ali' and 'Raging Bull' as one of the best boxing movies. Teller has his foot on the gas and never has to let up or put the breaks on, unlike people who park on San Francisco roads. Forget a cliche. This seconds out genre still dancing at 2016 looks like a million dollar baby of a franchise, no matter how breakneck the pace. As brilliant 'Boiler Room' director Ben Younger coming of age fuses this all together and really screws in the sense of pain. Forget a cringe or tingle down your spine this will wreck your every nerve if you have it. Blood, screw and muscle tears.
Miles ahead our leading man Miles Teller is racking up the hits and big numbers like a bank teller. Kind of like one of the real life 'War Dogs' he portrayed alongside Jonah Hill, which goes toe-to-toe with this as one of the best underrated films of the year. But now this dogs war zone is the punishing ring and his weapons for sale are strapped under two gloves, left and right. Drumroll please! He may not get the Oscar...but he's got the belt. At least give this kid a nomination...he's graduated from the Academy. Whipping and lashing with his Tommy Hearns and Jack Johnson, stretching the canvas with his fantastic left and right. But his doom here? His symbol headshot teacher? His Jonah looking to make bucks out of him before he's over the hill? Two shady promoters that make Don King and all his Mr. T bling look like a princess and blaow. No less than Jake, Teller tenses and muscles up to fighting weight to give us fight scenes and ringside set-pieces that are all rage no bull#### (Scorsese scores points as executive producer). It takes dedication to train to hit at this level. But to show the arrogant charismatic, bruised soul of a down and out, cornered New England prospect coming out of the blue collar stool with bloody knuckles like Boston 'Fighter' Mark Wahlberg takes real heart kid...and that's why this fighter and actor is a real prize. Forget a knockout cliche, Miles has the brass knuckles that could at least scuff Oscars gold.
And it's not like he doesn't have his opponents outside the ring like the tried and tested one of this Pasmanian devils own inner demon. Cue a string of Jersey bound Barbie girl dates that are made up to the maximum factor and the instantly vocally (if here not visually) recognisable Ted Levine (of 'Silence Of The Lambs', 'Heat' and 'Shutter Island' infamy) as a former trainer more backing him into a corner as he wants to squeeze every cent of penny, not ounce of sweat out of the kid. With a sneering sinister undercurrent performance that on the surface once looked like loyalty shows Ted's talents beyond how he talks and the actor we always thought the criminally underused of late Levine was always destined to be. And hats and old 80's shady frames off for 'Road To Perdition' and 'Miami Vice' character actor Ciaran Hands playing brilliantly against typecast as the Rhode Island father of Miles' fighter with the two clawing paws. With her son living in anarchy, 'Married...With Children' star and instantly brain scanning recognisable 'Futurama' voice Kathy Segal's mothering character too looks, but is nothing like Melissa Leo as her son shrine and candlelight vigile keeps her woories warm with the army of sisters on the tube in the frontroom as she can't watch the hits like Brad Pitt in 'Moneyball'. But with all this support it's fellow man of the moment (albeit a little out the lead) Aaron Eckhart who shows what it really means to be behind somebody. If 'The Dark Knight's' Harvey Dent gets a nomination for your supporting actor he'll only be going up against himself. As after being in Tom Hanks cockpit corner as the co-pilot of 'Sully' this month he's back on wingman duty once again. Though the classically leading man looking handsome Eckhart's chiseled features could not look any different. The trim traded for paunch and those blonde on blonde locks have receeded further than the waters in 'Deep Impact', so much so you can't tell if he's balding or about to join the monastery. And with that Boston beans accent if it wasn't for the chin you wouldn't be able to tell it's him like Jon Voight in 'Ali' as Howard Cosell. The district attorny of Gotham really does have two faces. But this is just one half of Aaron's acclaimed performance as in playing the hungover trainer that brought the pitbull out of Mike Tyson with sobering sincerity, Eckhart etches his name along with 'Sully' on best actor considerations regardless of the season. And just wait until he gets down...because this guy dances better than Oscar Isaac in 'Ex Machina', worthy of a trophy in itself. All in all, for this a maturing Younger, Miles' soul and the heart of Eckhart do more than just bleed...they live for this. And they got the scars to prove it. Can't outbox that. TIM DAVID HARVEY.