Tyson

Director James Toback’s documentary about former heavyweight boxing champ Mike Tyson isn’t a traditional nonfiction portrait as much as a feature-length interview, in which the retired boxer is front and center for virtually the entire running time. The only talking head is his own, albeit one that speaks in multiple, sometimes self-contradictory voices. The movie covers a lot of ground: Even boxing fans may be surprised by the bracing candor with which he dissects his desire to fight, his penchant for overindulgence, his 1992 rape conviction, and the infamous Evander Holyfield bout that ended with part of Holyfield’s ear on the canvas. Toback doesn’t come to lionize or to demonize, to goad his subject into a tearful breakdown (though Tyson does cry) or climactic Frost/Nixon apologia. Instead, he gives us Iron Mike in all his monolithic multitudes and allows us, for a brief moment, to peer alongside him into the existential abyss.

Categories: Movies