Tuesday 29 Jul

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0


William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · Tyson


None July 2nd, 2009


If there is one thing you can't say about Mike Tyson, it's that he is boring.

Boxing legend, convicted rapist, ear-biting thug, ticking time bomb "” say what you will about the guy, but few celebrities in popular culture are as darkly fascinating. In the extraordinary documentary "Tyson," the former heavyweight champ reveals the rage, fear and "” perhaps surprisingly "” introspection that has shaped his many successes and meltdowns.

Weaving together archival footage and interview sessions with the fighter, director James Toback ("Two Girls and a Guy") fashions a portrait that covers familiar ground, but with a somewhat unfamiliar perspective. The filmmaker, a longtime friend of Tyson's, allows his subject to reflect on his life with disarming candor. There is no pretense of this being an objective documentary. That doesn't mean Toback tries to whitewash the controversial figure. Far from it. His film is truthful, but its veracity is committed to the singular experience of mining Tyson's troubled psyche.

"People can judge me, but they can't understand my mind," Tyson tells the camera.

His mind, he admits, can be a murky place. He recounts a childhood of being terrorized and beaten up in a crime-infested section of Brooklyn. Eventually, he turned to robberies and an inevitable shuffling through the juvenile justice system. It was in reform school that Tyson realized his strength and quickness were well-suited for boxing. He wound up under the tutelage of boxing trainer Cus D'Amato, who helped transform the street kid into the most dangerous pugilist of his generation.

D'Amato's influence on Tyson extended beyond boxing, as well. As Tyson's legal guardian, he worked to imbue the young man with self-worth and hopefulness. Consequently, D'Amato's death in 1985 proved a devastating personal blow to Tyson.

Inside the ring, however, the boxer was unstoppable, but his ascent also marked the beginning of what would be a long-running freak show for the tabloids. His ill-fated marriage to actress Robin Givens ended with allegations of abuse. In 1993, he was convicted of sexually assaulting a contestant in a beauty pageant. He served three years in an Indiana prison before reviving his career with the precarious help of promoter Don King.

"Tyson" which opens Friday, does not seek absolution. The boxer still insists he was innocent of the rape charge and refers to his accuser as "that wretched swine of a woman." He makes no apologies for a life of excess, and the bleakness of his worldview ("People are leeches") could make a serial killer blush.

But Toback, who has put Tyson in two of his movies "” 1999's "Black and "White" and 2004's "When Will I Be Loved" "” does bring viewers to a closer understanding. Employing split screens and echo effects in which Tyson's words seem to drown themselves out, the movie succinctly conveys the champ's inner maelstrom of insecurities and self-loathing. In the end, what you remember most are the close-ups of Tyson's eyes "” hard, fierce, merciless. While "Tyson" the movie is equally hard and fierce, it thankfully reveals a compassion that has eluded the man.

"”Phil Bacharach

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5