The documentary shows his career highs, as well as his painful decline to rock bottom, with Tyson covering his disastrous marriage to Robin Givens, his rape charge (which he vehemently denies), and his controversial losses to Evander Holyfield. 'Tyson' gives a solid overview of his life, it is a taut documentary that is guaranteed to hold your attention through both recent interviews and archive footage. I can imagine some critics will criticise the film's depiction of its leading man. Indeed, the film portrays Mike sympathetically, but Tyson is a remarkably honest man, I know few other public figures of his stature who parallel his frank openness. While the grounds of his rape charge are dubious and open for contention, I feel he is genuine. Despite his past behaviour, Mike being the first to acknowledge it, you can't help but pity him, he has led a life of confusion and interference from his numerous demons.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Mike Tyson is truly unique and not what one expects. Which is why I advise anyone, particularly those who disregard Tyson, to watch this eye-opener, it won't necessarily change your opinion of the man, but surely you will be admiring his honesty.
A mixture of original interviews and archival footage and photographs sheds light on the life experiences of Mike Tyson.
What most people remember about Mike Tyson is that while he was a ferocious and dominant fighter in his prime, his character is a different story. He was imprisoned for rape, made obscene comments about his opponents, committed one of the most infamous incidents in all of boxing by biting his opponent's ear, and later became a drug addict facing numerous financial problems.
Which is unfortunate, however, as James Toback's documentary "Tyson" attempts, quite successfully, to dispel the notion of Tyson the savage and show us Tyson the person. He does this by letting Tyson do all the talking, reminiscent of how Errol Morris let Robert McNamara tell his POV in "The Fog of War." And what Tyson tells us about himself adds up to what is probably the most honest documentary you'll see this year. It doesn't even seem like a documentary, conventionally speaking; it's more like a confession, a visual memoir that lends insight into why he acted irrationally many times in his life. You'll get insight as to how he became a boxer, about his legendary trainer and father figure Cus D'amato (In a moving scene, Tyson literally chokes up when recalling D'amato), what he was thinking while preparing for fights, and even his views on women, aided with some very revealing pictures. Of course, like Morris's film, this is all Tyson's story: You will not hear from Robin Givens, Don King, or anyone else. Watching this documentary, however, you come to trust Tyson; and how he bares his soul to the camera is, in some ways, more courageous than facing a formidable opponent in the ring. You feel that not only is Mike Tyson the most honest fighter, but he's also one of the most honest people on this earth.
Toback's documentary manages to be engrossing because he humanizes Tyson, revealing a lesser seen side of the former champion, which is why even non-boxing fans will find this character study fascinating -- it transcends the savagery of the sport and allows us to understand this complicated, contradictory figure. There may be more relevant documentaries out there these days, but it's doubtful they are as honest and revealing as this one.