Dave White
Tyson Review

Dave's Rating:

4.5

It's about Mike Tyson.

Who's In It: Mike Tyson

The Basics: Want to watch a movie that's almost all just Mike Tyson's big scary tattooed head on the screen? Yeah? Well then how about, like, three of his heads all at once? All talking at once? Saying stuff that overlaps? And contradicts? And makes you wonder why you're feeling sorry for a guy who raped someone and blew threw 300 million bucks buying pet tigers? Then here's your movie. The craziest, weirdest documentary of the year. In fact, I don't even know if it is a documentary. It might just be a therapy session or something like those Chris Crocker YouTube videos, but about a real life Raging Bull instead of a tormented gay teenager.

What's The Deal: Watching this movie made me realize that Tyson's life would make for a pretty wild opera. All the fury that genre requires is in him. And it's like he's all the contemporary discussions and questions about race and fear and masculinity and brutality and misogyny and power rolled up into one guy with a really lispy voice that sounds like it should be coming out of a different person. Even more interesting is the obsession director James Toback seems to have with Tyson. They're friends and Toback's cast him to play a version of himself in two of his earlier narrative films--craziest scene, by the way: when Robert Downey Jr. comes on to him in the movie Black and White and gets choked for it--so it's like Tyson is this guy's muse.

Saddest Realization: When you see that his core trouble is that he was fatherless and afraid for his life as a kid. So all he really wanted was a father to give him a grounded sense of himself. And he had it in his trainer, Cus D'Amato, for a while. But then the elderly man died and Tyson's life spun out of control again.

Most Unsettling Moments: Well, two of them you've seen before--Robin Givens sitting right next to the man telling Barbara Walters that life with Tyson was a nightmare and then the thing with the ear biting--but the winner is how Toback uses footage from the the time of Tyson's early '90s rape trial and appears to be saying that he's got some unanswered questions about how guilty the champ really is.

Who Should See It: People who don't care about boxing or Tyson but who just like odd, leftfield movies. It's for you, really.

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