By Whitney Borup | April 2, 2009

As a documentary, “Tyson” is really interesting. The film breaks from traditional documentary form and lets the larger-than-life boxer present his story in a straightforward, honest fashion. However, if you’re not really interested in Mike Tyson as a boxer and a person, the film doesn’t give you much to go on. This is a movie called “Tyson” and it is about Mike Tyson – and nothing else.

Watching the film, I was bored. I’m not a boxing fan in the slightest and Mike Tyson has always been a sort of weird little man for me – but not in the way that I wanted to learn more about his weirdness. However, the more I think about the film, and the more I go back to it, the more impressed I am. Through it’s simple form, “Tyson” gives us a look at a sports legend that we would never get on ESPN. Here is Tyson talking about all the controversy that he has been involved with over the years, and he’s not necessarily denying it all. As the documentary progresses, we realize that we have only really been getting one side of the story. As the media has taken Tyson’s story away from him, the public has come to see him in a certain way that is hard to demolish. Mike Tyson counters these claims in what seems like the most honest way he can.

The rape charges, for example. Mike Tyson was convicted of the rape of Desiree Washington and served three years in prison. Tyson claims he was innocent in this particular case: “I may have taken advantage of a lot of women, but I never took advantage of her.” This admittance is disturbing, but suggests a new side to Mike Tyson. Perhaps one of humility?

Despite all his talk of “ravishing women,” Mike Tyson comes across as charming in this film. Forget the ear biting, forget the porn career, forget the wife abuse, at least he seems to have come to terms with these issues and might be closer to being at peace with himself. Or at least, that’s what this well crafted film asks us to think.

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