The first four minutes of Bleed for This, which you can watch exclusively above, perfectly sets the tone — and the timing — for the gritty and stylish new boxing drama based on the real exploits of Vinny Pazienza.
Set in 1988, as its subject, played by Miles Teller, arrives late for his weigh-in opposite Roger Mayweather (actual fighter Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin) at Las Vegas’s Caesar Palace, writer-director Ben Younger (Boiler Room) captures details both subtle in and in-your-face, from the logo of the once-popular Coors Extra Gold on a banner to Audio Two’s old-school hip-hop anthem “Top Billin'” to stonewashed jeans and Paz’s leopard-skin Speedo.
Like most boxers, Pazienza was cockiness incarnate in ’88, but in the early ’90s — not long after winning a middleweight world championship — he broke his neck in a horrifying car accident. Bleed for This follows what is undoubtedly one of the sports world’s most unlikliest comeback stories.
The film also stars Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal, Ciarán Hinds, and Ted Levine.
Bleed for This opens in theaters Friday.