Tribeca Film Review: ‘What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali’

  • Variety
Tribeca Film Review: ‘What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali’
Muhammad Ali’s bark was as formidable as his bite, and “What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali” pays tribute to both, allowing the three-time heavyweight champ to narrate his own story via a combination of audio and video archival material. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, this 165-minute documentary uses copious interview soundbites to highlight the pugilist’s unparalleled gift of gab — and, consequently, the way it served as his means of defiant self-definition. Debuting on HBO in two parts (after premiering at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival), it’s a celebration that, if not quite definitive, proves a stirring work of nonfiction assembly.

Comprised of old photos and film, TV, and radio clips, Fuqua’s project (executive-produced by LeBron James) does its best to approximate an autobiographical authorship, allowing “the greatest” to be his own storyteller. That approach, along with a narrative focus that remains almost exclusively on his public
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