Cast: Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal, Ciarán Hinds, Ted Levine
This inspirational story will keep you engaged. Miles Teller is a force of nature and the perfect choice to play Vinny Pazienza (Paz, or the Pazmanian Devil) who is indeed an unpredictable force of nature.
Boxers often have relentless enthusiasm, stubbornness and tenacity but Vinny is someone who takes these qualities one step beyond. After a car accident leaves him with a broken neck and he’s told he will never box again, he is determined to prove everyone wrong. His biggest champion, trainer Kevin Rooney, is played by an unrecognizable Aaron Eckhart who gained a few pounds to play the role. He’s pretty terrific in this as well. Vinny is someone who knows nothing else and he’ll whither away if he never boxes again. Gutsy and fearless he doesn’t give up. The story is reminiscent of Niki Lauda’s. These guys are born with a lifelong passion and unique ability to challenge themselves, endure pain and beat all of the odds.
Ben Younger has done a fine job with this film. Apparently he ran out of money and had to scrounge his pennies to get some final scenes wrapped up. Good investment. I would be surprised if we don’t see Miles Teller, and possibly Aaron Eckhart, in the awards discussion. Ciarán Hinds and Katey Sagal also play well in very strong supporting roles as Vinny’s parents.