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Blu-ray Review: Bleed For This – “All a bit of a masterclass”

I genuinely thought there was something wrong with the sound when I hit play, on the Bleed for This screener.

Silence. For about a minute.

Then we get some rustling. The tension is palpable as you don’t really know what you’re waiting on. Or, who we’re waiting on.

Then we get a title card: 1988. And I instantly fell in love.

We’re waiting on Vinny (Miles Teller), who’s wrapped in celephame, desperately peddling on a cycle bike.

I had missed Bleed for This at the flicks, so have been desperate to catch up.

Alan (Vice President of LFF) mailed to say we had a review copy. I’m in, I replied. Somehow getting in quicker than Mike (Commander in Chief of LFF). My only stipulation? Sure, I’ll give you my address to send the disc (physical discs still exist in the critic world, apparently) – but then you need to delete my address.

Because I’m off grid like John Connor, after my unfortunate part in the whole “Westchester Incident”.

Then the disc arrived within 24 hours. So don’t try and tell me you “posted” it, “Big Al”.

I know you now know where I live. But I know where you live. And we see each other in the LFF canteen every Thursday for tacos anyway, so…..

I was underprepared, if I’m honest. The film floored me like a head on car crash.

The opening ten minutes are gripping – and beyond that, it’s all a bit of a masterclass.

There’s a scene where Teller watches his coach announce on TV that he should retire. He doesn’t say anything. (Again, silence). We skip through dinner, and end up up with Teller sat on his own. There’s now a ringing in our ears – in his ears.

It’s all brilliantly done and the whole while Teller is earning his right as one of the best young Actors around. (Is it me, or have the ‘Divergent Series’ (I haven’t seen any and didn’t even realise he was in them, to be fair), and also ‘Fantastic Four’, have ruined him a bit? He’s a bit tarnished). This is the guy that has now totally owned ‘Whiplash’ and now this (That’s before I even jump into a passionate defence of ‘Fantastic Four’ – which was very much the ‘Suicide Squad’ of 2015 in terms of hypocritical and two footed everyone was).

Teller is definitely one to watch.

Here, we watch him battle with his weight, before getting involved with Aaron Eckhart (who interestingly has only made 39 movies to Teller’s 29). They try and tackle the weight issue by looking at whether he’s better off playing to his strengths and moving up a division… or two…

Eckhart totally “does a Bale”, too. He’s unrecognisable, and in solid mode. (FU, I liked ‘Battle Los Angeles’). He’s great to watch when he’s on form.

I’d say Ben Younger, the Director, was one to watch too. Except his filmography is…. sparse. He wrote this, and the script is sharp, but he’s only written 6 scripts and directed 11 films. 1 of those 12 was obviously this – and another, is a hidden gem.

Boiler Room‘. Previously known as Ben Affleck’s best film – it’s also a tour de force of story telling – and thoroughly under appreciated. If he’s friends with Ben, I can think of worse contenders for ‘The Batman’ based on his pacing, and use of sound. We’re talking George Michael’s ‘Monkey’ playing in a strip club scene, post-fight. That’s a Bold choice!

Get Aaron back as Two Face and seriously boil some Nolan piss. Cross over DC universes and remind all the Marvel fanboys not all DC films are shit.

Everyone’s a winner.

I’m no boxing expert. I’ll watch the big fights, and often nod along as if I have a clue who’s “winning”. The point there being that may be why I took to ‘Bleed for This’ so much. It’s a brilliant boxing movie – whilst not really being about boxing at all.

Sure, we get fights. We get training montages (I need a montage). And we get conversations about how it ain’t about how hard you can hit etc. But this really is about the people.

Let’s not even patronise it, or any film, by comparing it to ‘Raging Bull‘. But there’s similarities in how it tackles the out of the ring action. There’s pure similarities with ‘The Fighter’, too. Another film that peaked everyone’s interest, but is quietly unsung in its own way.

If, like me, you missed it at the cinema – get involved.

Sensational stuff.

Bleed For This is out on Blu-ray and DVD from 27th March 2017.

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