- Fri-Sun, Oct 4-6 + Thu, Oct 10Dir. Bill Siegel, USA, 2013, 94 min., NR, DCPOfficial Website
Part of Doctober.
Befitting its extraordinary and complex subject, the film examines Ali's life outside the ring, beginning with the announcement of his deeply held and controversial Islamic religious beliefs, and the decision to change his "white man's name" of Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. Yet, it is not a conventional sports documentary. The film explores his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War, even after his status as a conscientious objector was denied, on the grounds of protesting racial injustice at home—while capturing his passion and anger in interviews and television appearances culled from a rich variety of rare archival sources. Ali’s choice of belief and conscience over fame and fortune resonates far beyond the boxing ring, striking issues of race, faith and identity that continue to confront us all today.
“Singling out the most dramatic period in a career that was never short on color, [it] focuses on a time not only before Ali's iconic status was assured, but when even the fame brought by his 1960 Olympic gold medal was in danger of being overshadowed by the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding his embrace of Islam. The film captures the thrill of Ali's personality even for viewers with little interest in the sweet science.” — John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter “…notable primarily for its subject: not Ali, who’s been spotlighted in countless films, but the roughly three-year period when Ali was unable to box, and made his money on the lecture circuit while his case made its way to the Supreme Court.” —Noel Murray, The Dissolve