Friday, May 15, 2009


James Toback's "Tyson" is able to unveil a different side of Mike Tyson. It's structured like Tyson himself would have structured it, as he mentions in the doc that he loves conversation. The film is pretty much an 90 minute conversation, using the sound and feel of Tyson's voice, track over track over track, captivating and moving in its devastation.

Disturbed by his childhood, shaken by the death of his trainer, unable to get a hold on himself, Tyson is authentic on camera with Toback, who he's comfortable with. The boxer speaks on the violence, sex, and religion of his life, and with such passion, it's very enrapturing. He's fascinated with women, and he's sexually active. All of his relationships with women turned disasterous, and it seems to be his brutal anger that drove him to be like that. It's hard to hear Tyson's thoughts on his fight with Evander Holyfield, murderous, destructive thoughts that rage on with him throughout the fight. Excluding this fight, Tyson believes that boxers and pigeons are alike in the way they swarm and attack each other for the goods, although they live together like brothers all the other time. This is probably true.

When you analyze Tyson's style, you see that he does not have the brute force of Holyfield or the quick feet of Muhammed Ali, but instead he has pure aggression and rage, and what Tyson says definitely reflects this. This rage is ultimately what has swallowed him whole. He reiterates that he "cannot trust anyone" and that his anger is pointed at himself. His talent is really there, but you can see that gradually Tyson isn't, and he repeatedly falls apart. On another note, the reason the techniques that Toback employ in the film work is because Tyson has a monologic, poetic style as a speaker that pulls you in and gives Tyson's words meaning. "Tyson" as a film is powerful and incredibly moving since it shows the inner core of a man that the media has made out to be a terrible person. In some ways, Tyson can be bad, but he's also very vulnerable and shaken from his roots. That makes "Tyson" a deep, nuanced portrait of a fighter, who's career in the end hurt him as much as a taxing blow from an opponent. A

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