Synopsis: A gritty and intimate portrait of one of boxing’s most polarizing figures, James Toback’s Tyson recounts Iron Mike’s rise to superstardom and subsequent fall from grace through the eyes of the man himself. Candid interviews with Tyson reveal an often-misunderstood persona that encompasses a broad spectrum of decidedly human instincts. He is at once gentle and animalistic, humane and violent, predator and prey. After a stint in a juvenile reform school, where his boxing skills took root, the 14-year-old Tyson was introduced to legendary trainer Constantine "Cus" D'Amato, who took the young fighter under his wing and served as one of the only positive figures in his life. D’Amato died before he was able to see his final protégé become the sport’s youngest heavyweight champion at 20 years old, an event that started a chain reaction in Tyson’s young life. [Synposis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Round-up: Toback's film is being released amid a flurry of critical praise, with the LA Times' Kenneth Turan saying, "The result is as gripping as a title fight and as mesmerizing as a conversation w... ith a cobra. You may not be happy with everything said, but you will not be bored." The Village Voice's Scott Foundas writes that "[Tyson] isn't a traditional documentary portrait so much as a feature-length interview, in which the retired boxer, save for a sprinkling of archival footage and a montage of his famous fights, remains front and center for the entire running time.... [Toback] gives us Iron Mike in all his monolithic multitudes and allows us, for a brief moment, to peer alongside him into the existential abyss." David Edelstein, writing for New York Magazine, sums up the way a lot of critics seem to feel about the film when he writes describes it as "An 88-minute stream-of-consciousness monologue that has you by turns sympathetic, perplexed, appalled, and enthralled."