Making a movie about an iconic figure like Ali and how does Mann open the film? With Sam f'n Cooke. Doesn't get any cooler. What follows is a 10 minute opening sequence among the most impressive filmmaking of the last decade. Yeah, the Ali story/characters are a bit condensed and simplified, but Mann and Lubezki are amazing the whole way. Perhaps not compellingly dramatic, but this is filmmaking of the highest order.
Incredibly visceral, emotive, and (digitally) adaptive. Boasting amongst the best editing and cinematography displayed in recent film, particularly digital. This may be Mann's finest hour, and is certainly Will Smith's.
93/100 - Amazing.
In ALI, Will Smith gave a stunning perfomance. I just can’t believe he copied Muhammad Ali perfectly, from body’s muscle, face, also the voice tone! Incredible storyline from the beginning of Ali’s career,until Rumble in the Jungle, the match where Ali took back the champion’s belt which has taken unjustly from him, after he refused to join war with US army in Vietnam.
Smith owns the role (and the production), and Mann bends over backwards to comply with the demands put upon him by the assignment without compromising his signature style/interests. The result is not much of a movie dramatically. Instead, it's an awesome visual experience, a brutal tone-poem about becoming a god to millions at a heated moment in American history.
I might question why this is a movie about Ali and not the Civil Rights movement, or question why such a long movie only covers these condensed snippets of the mans life, I might, if not for the opening ten minutes which should put Mann beyond questioning.