Monday, April 16, 2018

Borg vs McEnroe Movie Review

Shia LaBeouf stars in Borg vs McEnroe

Best Enemies

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: It's the summer of 1980 and Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) is the top tennis player in the world, dominating the sport both on and off the court. A powerful and rigorously disciplined player, there is only one obstacle in his pursuit of a record-breaking fifth Wimbledon championship: the highly talented but ferociously abrasive young American, John McEnroe (a perfectly cast Shia LaBeouf.) With three days until the tournament begins, Borg trains religiously in his lavish Monaco home, aided by his coach and mentor Lennart (Stellan Skarsgård) and girlfriend Mariana (Tuva Novotny.) But McEnroe's explosive confidence and wrecking-ball persona continue to infiltrate Borg's ice-cool and normally unshakable temperament. With each man the antithesis of the other, both players delve into their formative memories as the climactic tournament draws near and anticipation reaches fever pitch. Visceral and breathlessly tense, the match itself - regarded as one of the greatest of all time - would mark the pinnacle of the 'Fire and Ice' rivalry between Borg and McEnroe; an exhilarating battle of personalities that set the world of tennis alight. Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen.

The 1980 Wimbledon singles final ushered in a new era of men's tennis, thanks to its historic fourth set tiebreaker between Borg, "a pressure cooker who blocks everything out," and the volatile McEnroe, his (seemingly) polar opposite. Turns out, Ice-Borg was just as explosive, before agreeing to hide those emotions forever, which Pedersen unveils in compelling fashion. Unfortunately, the match itself pales in comparison, due to an overreliance on extreme/unconvincing close-up shots (instead of actual game footage.) It's no Rocky, but Gudnason, LaBeouf and Novotny deliver the goods in a surprisingly solid drama... minus the on-court fireworks.

Grade: C+