McGregor is a fascinating enough figure, and as pure an example of the ‘visualize success' method as there is. It's been said that his whole MMA modus operandi was to ‘get in, get paid, and get out'. I'm not sure he'll hold to that ethos, but he was enough into the visualization trip to start filming this movie on his way up, rather than as a retrospective. In fact he and director Gavin Fitzgerald got so much of a jump on things that the end of the documentary unravels in quite surprising fashion.
So inasmuch as this is a documentary of McGregor's rise to fame composed in part of archival footage from his auto-documentary of his rise to fame, it's hard to take him seriously when he says "fuck fame, I'm in this game to get paid." We can however take quite seriously his prowess in the octagon, his single-minded dedication, and his ability to handle failure with grace and renewed dedication. At least that's what we're lead to believe after his stunning defeat at the hands Nate Diaz, when we literally follow him out of the arena to catch his immediate reaction.
This kind of sure-seems-true verity combines with that archival footage, plenty of fight footage, interview segments, and scenes of the fighter and his entourage enjoying the good life in Las Vegas to make a documentary as cinematic and engaging as they come.
The movie raises plenty of questions, and subtly presents ideas on respect, fame, the meaning of superstars, and makes one wonder about the inspirational effects of such documentaries. I mean, there can only be one McGregor, right? Is his message that we should strive for superstardom? Or to just be as good as we can? Who knows? Whatever the case, in addition to being a true badass, Conor seems like a pretty decent guy, and that fact alone makes Notorious a worthy watch.
Of note is the weird way the movie ends. After McGregor's story is told, and he's at the top of his world, the end-credits sequence tosses in reference to his much-hyped boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, an event that looms pretty damn large in McGregor's story. So yeah, that fight happened and a brief title card at the tag-end of the film mentions McGregor lost the fight. It's a weird, deflating end, but I guess sometimes the desire to tell the truth, and release dates, get in the way of each other.