Tyson (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 90 minutes.
Starring: Mike Tyson
Director: James Toback
If you haven't seen the trailer for this movie, check it out:
Like I've said, I don't particularly like boxing, nor do I like Tyson that much. Putting that aside, he definitely makes for an interesting character to talk about in a movie. I saw the trailer and immediately I thought I may not really like him, but I'm fascinated by what he might say (or possibly do).
This isn't a typical documentary, in that you're introduced to Tyson and the director finds others to interview and narrates his story. Not so - this is all told through Tyson's eyes and it's his words that tell his story. I was a bit put off by this at first, but the movie kept getting better and better and you just get sucked into his story. I didn't really know too much about him except for the rape conviction, the face tattoo and the ear-biting fiasco, so I was intrigued as to how Tyson became who he was in the 80s when I was a young lad. When Tyson starts to cry on screen - choking and holding back tears - it's when the documentary got a hold of me and I wanted to hear everything.
On one of the DVD extras, Toback discusses a little survey he took. He asked 35 people (most of them who didn't particularly care for Tyson) if they wanted to see the first 15 minutes of the movie and if they didn't feel compelled to watch the rest, they could leave and get $100. None of them left. That's crazy (and possibly a lie), but I think if that opportunity was given to me, I would finish the movie. It's entertaining - you get to see the highs and lows of one of the most enigmatic sports figures in our culture. At the end, I don't really know where I stand with Tyson - at some level I feel sorry for the man, but then I realize he has gobs of money. And then I start to realize how much of a loser and degenerate he is. But I respect him. Crazy, right? This documentary, even though it's told through Tyson himself, has a lot of clarity. He doesn't shy away from the nasty side of his personal life. And to me that's what makes me want to know what's going to happen to him: he seems to have realized how crazy and messed up his life has been, but this was all shot during his stint in rehab, so who knows?
Either way this is a captivating film, no matter if you hate him or love him. It's out on DVD this week and it's worth renting!