This documentary doesn't reveal any new information, but it gets into the trenches of Ali's metamorphosis from boxer into political and religious figure. All the stuff Ali-philes read about is given a backstory and it's fascinating to hear from Ali's brother, his first wife, the sole surviving investor from Lousiville. The title is a misnomer as the film is really about Ali and Islam. An engrossing 90 minutes.
A pretty in-depth look into Ali's personal struggles with America and specifically America's perception of his religious and political beliefs. This movie does a great job of presenting material in a straight-forward manner that both praises Ali while still presenting his flaws without apology. It's a fascinating look into the Ali the man, not the athlete.
To help sort through the post-mortem media whitewashing since the deaths of Prince & Muhammad Ali, someone's made an app that auto-corrects the creepily ubiquitous phrase "transcended race" to "was retroactively deemed safe by white people". Siegel's doc, along with being engaging, beautifully-paced, well-made, does the same sort of work. You don't get to whitewash Ali or his legacy; nice try, MSM. Rest In Power.
I made the bad choice of watching the terrible Will Smith vehicle "Ali" directed by Michael Mann. This doc fills a lot of the blanks missed by "Ali" and gives us a deeper look into his relationship with the Nation of Islam. That said, it fails to offer a critical view into Ali himself. No doubt he was a great man, but all the interviews offer nothing but praise, and I doubt the man was perfect. Still it's a great doc
A good documentary. There is much to be gained in terms of a greater understanding of Ali’s international significance, and also to have one’s suspicions confirmed about the world he lived in, that is, the inherent racism and violence built into US society. Unfortunately, not much has changed for blacks or Muslims.
A perfect documentary that weaves together all the political, social, and religious threads of Ali's life. It provides an exceptionally thorough and intelligent overview of the historical moment in which he lived. I only knew him as a boxer. Now I know him as a great American hero of the Civil Rights Movement. His sense of the need to protect his own freedom, at whatever cost, is an inspiring lesson for all citizens.
Politically fractured documentary from Bill Siegel (Weather Underground) which seems unsure where to point its finger. The films gaze turns on the 'nation of Islam' and whether Ali was being duped or used by various factions and personalities more than concentrating on the actual legal and political machinations that took place during Ali's long legal battle. The film lacks depth or analysis.
"Since 9/11, Islam has acquired so many layers, dimensions and textures. When the Nation of Islam was considered as threatening..., traditional Islam was seen as a gentle alternative. And now quite the contrary. The Nation of Islam is seen as a tame domestic version, and traditional Islam is seen as the threatening thing. Muhammad Ali occupies a weird kind of place in that shifting interpretation." - Captain Sam
This is an inspiring film that focuses on the person Muhammad Ali. Bill Siegel creates a cinematic construction of identity. The portrait painted here is of a man who skips along the footprints of the men and women he admires, but also finds himself frustrated by his contemporaries and their lack of vigor. Highly recommended.