Film Reviews

TYSON

By • May 4th, 2009 •

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Emotionally and psychologically raw, this is a revelatory experience. Tyson has a Second Act, he could mentor a troubled teen like his savior, Cus D’Amato.

I immediately recognized that Mike Tyson has been so cruelly damaged that he has no social barriers to fall back on. I’ve met quite a few people like this: years of engaging in hallucinatory substances strips people of boundaries and social masks.

No one ever told Tyson what not to say. Who would?

This documentary is so raw and revealing, that it will stand as a boxing classic – and I am not a James Toback fan at all. Toback is a self-conscious director, but finally he will have a highly regarded hit movie with TYSON. Because he stayed out of the way. Toback has been massaging Tyson for years preparing him for this movie. He put Tyson in his little seen 2004 film WHEN WILL I BE LOVED and his 1999 film BLACK AND WHITE. Toback gained Tyson’s trust. It took twenty years.

Tyson starts at the beginning and it is clear that something “humiliating” happened to him when he was a kid. I do not believe it was being forced to give up his lunch money or the death of one of his pigeons. Tyson keeps going back to the word “humiliated”. Whatever it was, it was the crucial event that made him a world champion.

It is Tyson’s honest recollections about his mentor Cus D’Amato that show how exposed Tyson is willing to be. You see him emotionally change. He starts to cry talking about the man who nurtured and trained him to be a champion. Tyson’s love for Cus is pure. In my opinion, it continues to be the only relationship Tyson has ever had with another human being.

Tyson goes over his famous fights with the skill of a historian and a psychologist. I saw Tyson fight when I lived in New York. All I remember is that we got there late and it was a brief night out. Tyson explains his thought processes as he walked to the ring for a fight. He goes over all his great fights, the downfalls, the drugs, and the many, many women. See it for Tyson’s intense monologue on his love of women. He only wants to give pleasure. He does not want to receive it. He likes to dominate strong women. You will love it for another reason: Mike says he performed fellatio on a woman in a bathroom.

Tyson goes over many of the historical events in his life, his brief marriage to actress Robin Givens, his still raw anger over his arrest for rape, the ruthless Don King, and his infamous ear-chewing episode. Tyson’s honesty is unparalleled.

Toback left out a memorable Tysonism. I recall that Tyson once said that if he had walked his accuser downstairs after their hotel room tryst, he would have never been accused of rape.

We walked out saying one of Mike’s soon to be classic, prison taunts to some guy at his press conference after his release from prison: “I’m going to f**k you till you love me.” And how can we forget Mike’s memorial tirade to an interviewer about an opponent: “I want to eat his children.”

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