Tyson: Mike was a lot of things in life. A womanizer, alleged rapist, boxer, criminal, misunderstood, and others
The Baddest Man On the Planet during his prime? Or perhaps a man crying out for help?
"Tyson" is by far, the best documentary, I've seen all year. The film depicts Mike Tyson's life, ranging from his early child hood days to the downfall of not only his boxing career, but his personal life as well. Over the years, he's had to deal with drug addiction, womanizing, light schizophrenia, and inferiority complex most of his life. The documentary is narrated by Mike Tyson himself as he tells you his life story, but that's not to say that the film is biased by any means. James Toback uses split screens, as Mike tells the audience his life story; while having each split screen speak over the other. This was done so the viewer is able to easily understand that Mike Tyson has often dealt with various voices in his head throughout most of his life, as it's stems from an inferiority complex when he was a kid bullied on the streets. "Tyson" is basically a confession of how Mike Tyson reflects upon his life and boxing career. Admitting a lot of his mistakes due to drug addiction and womanizing, but still publicly denies his alleged spousal abusal and alleged rape conviction. Whether he was an abusive husband and rapist, is never confirmed or denied in the movie. Rather, it's left up to interpretation. As James Toback makes "Tyson" in such a compelling way that, it allows the audience to make up their own minds as to whether they feel Tyson is lying or not. "Tyson" is perhaps one of the most interesting documentaries ever made.
For those expecting this to be biased by any means, will be sadly mistaken. As even people who absolutely hate or lost respect for Mike Tyson, over the years, will come to appreciate this movie. James Toback has been quoted that the documentary is made in such a way, that the viewer could make up their own mind whether you think Mike lies. Not because he is lying, but because Mike chooses to see a different version of the truth that the audience might feel he's in self denial. In one scene, when he talks about the interview he did, on the "Barbara Walter's Show",he mentions how he wanted to hit his ex-wife, Robin Givens, during the interview for saying those accusations, but admitted to refraining himself. This allows the viewer to either believe that either he's in self denial about his actions, or he's truly telling the truth. Whether he's lying or not is never certain, it does allow for the viewer to see a deep insight into one of the world's most controversial figures.
In another infamous scene, Tyson trash talks a fan out in a press conference. You could almost hear the fear in Tyson's voice. Not because he was scared of guy, necessarily, but rather he was afraid of how he might be perceived. As Tyson himself even said that after getting out of jail, he was afraid of losing his edge of the heavy weight ring. Constantly trying to bully himself to the top.
The spit screens for the movie worked rather brilliantly. In various scenes, when Mike tells you his life story, the audience is able to see up to four different screens displaying Mike talking over himself. This was used to show the audience how Tyson has dealt with schizophrenia most of his life, as he's even quoted as saying, "The only thing that kept me sane in prison, was my own insanity." Words, that will leave an lasting imprint on the former champion.
The documentary goes on to show how Mike Tyson has dealt with the downfall of his career, and how he struggles everyday trying to deal with his life. Although Tyson never fully admits everything that the audience may expect to hear, he does come off as a man that regrets a lot of the things he's done in his life. Sure, you can say he's a bad person, but we've all made mistakes in our lives. Tyson is no different.
Perhaps, "Iron" Mike Tyson wasn't the baddest man on the planet. Maybe he was just a lost soul crying out for help behind his rage. However, we may never know for sure. What is certain though, Mike Tyson will always be known as a highly controversial figure in society. James Toback does a great job painting a self portrait of Tyson, that allows the audience to make up their own minds about the man's legacy. Using the clever use of split screens to display Tyson's deep psyche. Indeed, "Tyson" is one of the best documentaries of the year, and definitely the most intriguing.