Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' on SWITCHCast
New SWITCHCast episode out now! Click here to listen to interviews with 'Rockabul's' Travis Beard and 'Thunder Road's' Jim Cummings.x
review, Conor McGregor: Notorious, Conor, McGregor:, Notorious, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Conor McGregor, John Kavanagh, Dee Devlin, Owen Roddy, Arterm Lobov, Dana White, Audie Attar, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gavin Fitzgerald, Documentary film rating



By Jake Watt
5th November 2017

As reigning UFC Lightweight Champion, Irish mixed martial artist Conor McGregor has established himself as the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) draw in MMA history (he has main-evented four out of the six highest-selling pay-per-view events in UFC history). Upon defeating Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two weight divisions simultaneously.

Filmed over four years, the new documentary ‘Conor McGregor: Notorious’ from director Gavin Fitzgerald (‘The Fighting Irish’) has been promoted as an unprecedented probe into McGregor’s rise to the top of the UFC world.

After a brief prologue in McGregor’s glorious "McMansion" in Las Vegas, Nevada, we travel back to a scruffy Dublin gym. These were the days when he and his fellow fighters could barely afford their own headgear. "We don’t have the Sports Council," he observes.

Before he was signed to the UFC and weaponised into a global phenomenon, McGregor was a very relatable scrapper. With unpaid bills piling up, he fantasised about moving out of his mum’s house and earning enough money to properly support himself, his girlfriend, future children and grandchildren, etc. With the threat of poverty looming in the background, McGregor trains and practises, and dreams about hitting the big time of the UFC.


‘Conor McGregor: Notorious’ tries really, really hard to sell McGregor as an underdog: an aspiring football player, hassled on his local housing estate, who rose above it all with his skills at combat. We see glimpses of McGregor at his most vulnerable: a knee injury the public didn’t know about; a slumped figure after his first big loss; and, towards the end, a father holding his first child. In these moments, the film gets interesting, because it shows that there are depths to McGregor’s persona beneath the public bravado of wearing three-piece suits, screaming dumb things down the camera and slagging people off.

Dee Devlin, his long-time girlfriend and the mother of his child, often seems to be a more interesting focal point for the documentary. Her presence seems so central to everything he does, and yet she’s a realistic, relatable human being - the opposite of how McGregor portrays himself. It’s their story that draws attention to the line between the person and the obnoxious, marketable persona.

Elsewhere, the documentary takes an observational approach, following press junkets, physiotherapy sessions and training. Actually, there is a lot of footage of McGregor training. If that's your thing, you are in luck.

Fitzgerald has been granted liberal access to the current McGregor and has come up with a grand total of zero revelations or insights. The man himself is a polarising and fascinating personality, presented here as being consumed by a rare determination to achieve success for the sake of success. However, McGregor seems to spend more time walking around like a tool and telling staff, members of his family, passing officials and visiting filmmakers how fantastic he is. Everyone gets to hear how fantastic he is. At one point, he literally kisses his own biceps. Mutual backslapping with Arnold Schwarzenegger really does end with the former governor saying: “I’ll be back” (although the best moment might be afterword, as McGregor and his girlfriend slouch upon closing the door, giddy over the experience like a pair of teenagers).

Fitzgerald has been granted liberal access to the current McGregor and has come up with a grand total of zero revelations or insights.

No time is spent on McGregor’s sensationalism, preferring to show him in his heated moments only when he’s instigated by Nate Diaz, not when he’s looking to provoke. This is the same McGregor that recently called fighter Andre Fili a "faggot" and directed more nuanced racial slurs towards José Aldo and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Part of the problem is the structure. Even though the film spans four years, the large majority of the running time is dedicated to McGregor’s bouts with Chad Mendes, José Aldo, and Nate Diaz. The film’s climax eventually settles on his loss to Nate Diaz loss and subsequent rematch. McGregor’s win over Eddie Alvarez is practically an afterthought, and the Floyd Mayweather Jr bout (or at least the vitriolic tour) is only briefly touched on. The inclusion of high definition footage from the infamous Paulie Malignaggi sparring match is puzzling and groan-worthy.

After watching ‘Conor McGregor: Notorious’, I still don’t have much of an idea about who Conor McGregor is as a person (McGregor is credited as an executive producer on this documentary). I only know the slick, UFC-manufactured alpha male persona that millions of gormless kids on the internet worship adoringly, the bloke with the aviator shades who has his own name tattooed across his chest. He’s a fighter who says "fook" a lot, not unlike your average episode of ‘Father Ted’.

‘Conor McGregor: Notorious’ is not an honest portrayal - it is a filmed hagiography masquerading as a documentary. Clip after clip of an over-groomed dude living in luxury while waiting to fight in the Octagon, this is merely another weapon in McGregor’s promotional arsenal.

RELEASE DATE: 09/11/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 30m
CAST: Conor McGregor
John Kavanagh
Dee Devlin
Owen Roddy
Arterm Lobov
Dana White
Audie Attar
Arnold Schwarzenegger
DIRECTOR: Gavin Fitzgerald
PRODUCERS: Jamie D'alton
Graeme McDonnell
Jamie Lee D'alton
SCORE: Hugh Drumm
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' on SWITCHCast 
Red Joan - Judy Dench's spy drama
TRENDINGWIN RED JOANJudy Dench's spy drama
What Men Want - The power of the mind
TRENDINGWIN WHAT MEN WANTThe power of the mind
My Big Gay Italian Wedding - Fall in love with this feed-good romantic comedy
TRENDINGWIN MY BIG GAY ITALIAN WEDDINGFall in love with this feed-good romantic comedy
Rocketman - A fascinating musical biopic that never finds its feet
TRENDINGROCKETMANA fascinating musical biopic that never finds its feet
Aladdin - A whole new world of suffering
TRENDINGALADDINA whole new world of suffering
Top End Wedding - Outback fantastic
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Apollo 11 - A transcendent journey to the Moon
TRENDINGAPOLLO 11A transcendent journey to the Moon
NT Live: All About Eve - A powerful stage adaptation of a cinema classic
TRENDINGNT LIVE: ALL ABOUT EVEA powerful stage adaptation of a cinema classic
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
The Wedding Guest - Cancelled due to boredom
TRENDINGTHE WEDDING GUESTCancelled due to boredom
The Wind - A paranoid Western nightmare
TRENDINGTHE WINDA paranoid Western nightmare
Sydney Film Festival 2019 - The reviews
25 km/h - A supremely easygoing German comedy
TRENDING25 KM/HA supremely easygoing German comedy
Here Comes Hell - High society British horror
TRENDINGHERE COMES HELLHigh society British horror
The Heiresses - An escape from the gilded cage of privilege
TRENDINGTHE HEIRESSESAn escape from the gilded cage of privilege
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
In Fabric - The best worst film ever?
TRENDINGIN FABRICThe best worst film ever?
Under The Silver Lake - Not so deep
The Captain America Trilogy - The finest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe come to 4K UHD
TRENDINGTHE CAPTAIN AMERICA TRILOGYThe finest films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe come to 4K UHD
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us