Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Matthew Frendo

Supposedly, after Mike Tyson first saw the documentary that James Toback put together on him, he proclaimed that it was like a Greek tragedy, with himself at the center.  To be honest, he's not too far off the mark.

Mike Tyson has been the source of controversy since he first came to public consciousness.  Toback's documentary does a good job of going into all of these, using new interviews with archival footage.  From the accusations of abuse dished out by Robin Givens, to Tyson's trial and subsequent prison sentence for rape, to the ear-biting incident during his title bout with Evander Holyfield, nothing is left out.  And, unlike some documentaries, the moviegoer will feel as if each issue has been given ample air time to fully go into the subject. 

James Toback had nearly 30 hours of interview footage, all of which was taken during Tyson's stint in rehab (which Toback did purposefully, thinking, rightly, that Tyson would be at his most honest during this time period).  Edited down to 90 minutes, the director does a good job of getting the important points down, without missing the nuance needed to make a documentary interesting. 

When the film was first shown to distributors, none were interested except for Sony Classics Pictures.  After the deal was accepted, it screened at Cannes, where it received a 10 minute standing ovation.  Many of the executives who passed on the film were in attendance.  Serves 'em right...
4 ½ / 5 stars

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