- Director:James Toback
- Cast:Mike Tyson
- Release Date:August 06, 2009
- Running time:90 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.00
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Brutally honest, Tyson offers one perspective on the life of the boxer – his own. This intimate look is enough to carry the film through its fascinating portrait of the fallen hero.
James Toback's sublime documentary, Tyson, only needs one interview subject to carry it through an over-too-fast ninety-minute running time. The garrulous, indomitable and utterly preposterous former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Mike Tyson, serves as narrator, commentator, repudiator and emotional crux of the film, which is shot with an abrasive intimacy that would tear down any mere mortal.
Sitting uncomfortably against animal prints in his opulent manor with magnificent Pacific Ocean views, the most famously scary pop culture figure of all time cries (a lot), laughs (haltingly), and repeatedly paints himself into and out of logical and historical corners.
An intellectually vibrant but emotionally shattered shell of his former self, the Tyson of today is a direct descendent of the street fighting Brooklyn hood rat that took the professional boxing world by storm in the late eighties, simultaneously becoming the sport's resident cautionary tale and aspirational icon.
While it's perhaps too pat to explain away such violence and criminality with the abandonment of Tyson by his father, daddy issues prove a compelling starting point, with the fighter pointing to the death of trainer and legal guardian Cus D'Amato in 1985 - when Tyson was only nineteen-years-old - as the beginning of his fall.
Brutally candid about his dangerous sexual appetite - including his mid-career rape conviction - enormous confidence issues and general rage, Mike Tyson is simultaneously an unnervingly simple man and a sort of street philosopher, heartrendingly aware of his unparalleled fall. He grew out of the worst of circumstances and brought himself hurtling back down over the course of a scant decade, and uses the tunnelling, contradictory confession-booth aesthetic of this remarkable film to tell his own true story.