Thursday, April 30, 2009

Iron man

Caught a preview of Jim Toback's new Mike Tyson documentary the other night, which I recommend. The story is told through Tyson's own words in interviews shot over several days, plus photographs and archival footage.

Tyson comes across as deeply thoughtful, which will not surprise anyone who's paid attention to him beyond headlines and sound bites. He discusses his own life without a hint of artifice, exploring his own experiences and lessons learned with a moving, riveting clarity.

He's a sympathetic character, more victim than aggressor. A childhood asthmatic and bullying victim later betrayed by many around him after the death of his early mentor and guardian, the fight trainer Cus D'Amato, Tyson has struggled in the face of constant exploitation.

Even his most notorious public moments, namely his conviction for sexual assault (he maintains his innocence) and his biting Evander Holyfield's ear in the ring, seem less extreme as Tyson offers his side of the story.

The Mike Tyson of today is quiet and philosophical, yearning and self-aware, focused on living a worthwhile life after all the users and sensationalism have fallen away.

Tyson opens tomorrow. Here's the trailer:

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