Original title:Sly
Director:Thom Zimny
Running time:95 minutes
Release date:03 november 2023
For nearly 50 years, Sylvester Stallone has entertained millions with his iconic characters and blockbusters, from Rocky to Rambo to The Expendables. This retrospective documentary offers an intimate look at the Oscar-nominated actor, screenwriter, director and producer, paralleling his inspiring underdog story with the indelible characters he's brought to life.

Mulder's Review

To Sylvester Stallone, a Hollywood icon

Sly is an intimate, emotionally-charged documentary that offers an inside look at the life and career of one of Hollywood's most iconic actors, Sylvester Stallone. Directed by Thom Zimny, the film takes viewers on a fascinating journey through Stallone's personal and professional life, uncovering the man behind the legendary roles he has played on the silver screen.

The documentary begins by delving into Stallone's tumultuous childhood, marked by a difficult relationship with his abusive father. These early experiences profoundly shaped Stallone's drive and determination to make his mark in the cut-throat world of Hollywood. The film's focus on this painful past is a recurring theme, providing the driving force behind many of its iconic characters and unforgettable performances.

One of the most compelling aspects of Sly is Stallone's candor when discussing his upbringing and family dynamics. Despite his Hollywood superstar status, he retains a down-to-earth, almost amused demeanor that makes him endearing to audiences. This vulnerability in sharing his personal struggles makes the documentary remarkably moving and relatable, as we see the human behind the tough action hero facade.

The film takes us through the various stages of Stallone's career, from his early days as an actor to his meteoric rise with the Rocky franchise and its sequels. The documentary acknowledges that while Stallone was not the most versatile actor, he possessed a unique ability to infuse his performances with authenticity, drawing on his own life experiences. The insights into his creative process are particularly fascinating, offering a glimpse into the mind of an artist devoted to his craft.

While Sly focuses primarily on Stallone's career and creative journey, it doesn't hesitate to touch on his missteps and films that failed to achieve critical or commercial success. The documentary hints at regrets about the sacrifices he made in his personal life to pursue his career, giving an insight into the sacrifices that fame often entails.

Although somewhat selective in its coverage, Sly succeeds in painting an endearing and heartfelt portrait of a complex man who defied the odds to become one of the most enduring figures in Hollywood history. It captures the essence of an outsider who fought his way to the top through hard work and self-determination. Stallone's captivating narration and the film's thoughtful tone make it a gripping and poignant film.

For those who have grown up with Stallone's films as an important part of their lives, Sly offers a more personal connection to the actor. It highlights the dedication and effort Stallone put into his work, as well as his deep passion for the art of filmmaking. The documentary reveals Stallone's vulnerabilities, particularly when he talks about his family, and offers a new perspective on the action star we thought we knew.

One of the most instructive aspects of Sly is Stallone's deep understanding of the filmmaking process and his commitment to creating multidimensional characters. He shares his experience by watching and learning from other films, pushing the boundaries of his work and collaborating with other actors and creators to bring his characters to life. Discussions of character development, particularly the creation of Adrian in the Rocky series, highlight Stallone's creative genius.

The documentary not only showcases Stallone's cinematic achievements, but also his ability to inspire and touch audiences through his underdog spirit and the journeys of his characters as they overcome obstacles. Although aspects of his life and career have not been explored, Sly is a fitting tribute to a Hollywood legend, offering an authentic, emotional and inspiring portrait of Sylvester Stallone and his enduring legacy.

Sly is a must-see film for Stallone fans and anyone interested in the world of cinema. It provides a deeper understanding of the man behind the iconic roles and the remarkable journey of an actor who became a Hollywood legend through unwavering determination and the relentless pursuit of his creative vision.

Directed by Thom Zimny
Produced by Sean Stuart
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Cinematography : Justin Kane
Edited by Annie Salsich
Music by Tyler Strickland
Production company : Netflix
Distributed by Netflix
Release dates : September 16, 2023 (TIFF), November 3, 2023 (Netflix)
Running time : 95 minutes

Viewed on November 3, 2023 (Netflix)

Mulder's Mark: