Yeah, so this is pretty much just 90 minutes of Tyson talking about himself. It starts off with Tyson talking about his childhood and how he was always ill and about how he is not sure that the man he thought of as his father was really his dad and about growing up in a tough neighborhood and the subject of much bullying. He ends that passage by talking about why he thinks people like him end up being aggressive later in life and this sort of sets up the tone for the documentary as a whole. Basically it’s Tyson reflecting on his life and sort of offering his own account of events that we’ve all seen and/or read about.
To its credit, I think the doc does go beyond that to some extent at least. It sort of puts one in a place where one can’t help but contemplate what it means to be Tyson. He describes his own version of that but mostly thanks to Tyson’s candor and unapologetic narration of these events imo, we do get to make our own evaluation of what that might be like.
I have to admit that I was never bored. It was fascinating to me to listen to Tyson’s version of who he is and why various events in his life happened and how they shaped him. It’s admittedly a sympathetic portrayal of the man and Toback doesn’t make any effort to provide us with anyone else’s views on these events.
So I’m a little torn as to how I feel about this overall. I was definitely engrossed for the entire duration but am not sure that I liked it. I am conflicted about the “See, he is really just a sad, pathetic man and all he wants to do is play with his kids” ending for one thing. But I’d still recommend it.
The poetry on the beach scene is terrible. The direction is heavy-handed with those annoying split-screens and the layering of the voices (all of which I just found distracting). I also felt like the film sets up these contradictions in what Tyson is saying too neatly. Like, he says this and then he says this.
Am glad I watched it though.