MOVIE REVIEW: Borg Vs. McEnroe

The lead up to the 1980 Wimbledon final where the 4 time champion Bjorn Borg and the young upstart John McEnroe are about to face each other for the first time.  Sponsorship and Exhibition games and the pressure of becoming the five time champion have taken their toll on Borg, and his on court Jedi cool is being tested.  Uncomfortable with the fame brought from the game and struggling to keep his focus he doubts his talent coming into the tournament.  In America John McRoe is known for his energetic tennis and outbursts on the court and in front of the media.  When the Jedi cool and the frantic energy are set to meet in one of the most explosive finals that Wimbledon has ever seen.

I was born in the mid 70’s and every summer I would watch Wimbledon, until the mid 90’s, where the branding and the personalities became more important than the game.  Watching those players live the game, take the risks, put their bodies and souls on the line was some of the most exciting TV we got to see during the summer.  When it became about highlighting the brands that they were wearing more than the action on the court I zoned out.  Like when my partner starts talking about which paint to colour the living room.  I just zone out there too.

This film is probably the best Tennis movie that has ever been made, I mean, honestly, I can’t remember many tennis movies, but this has to be one of the best.  The casting is on the nail.  Shia LeBeouf stars as McEnroe and it fits like a glove on a hand.  There seems to be some therapy that is going on in his performance which if you know what is going on in his personal life over the last few years you’ll see it taking shape.  I don’t care, if this is what it takes to get him back on track then I’m happy.  Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg, and this is my first experience of him, I know that he’s been around a while now, but as a first impression you get the intense feeling of a dedicated sportsman that we all know Borg was.  The supporting cast is all exceptionally close in appearance to the real life counterparts and also give their all.

The film jumps from the players in their early years.  Where it seems they were polar opposites to their adult selves.  You see their attitudes changing and developing and the course to becoming the titans of tennis.  It’s an eye-opening look at two fascinating characters.  The part of the film that I truly loved though was the final of Wimbledon itself.  This felt like the fight at the end of Rocky.  Every swing of the racket and the impact of the ball, every serve, you felt.  I knew the outcome of the game going in to see this film.  Yet for the whole of the coverage of the match I was transfixed and sitting on the edge of my seat for the game.

For fans of Tennis this is a must see film, for people who don’t know anything about the game it is a great sports movie, and for the general public who just want to be entertained, this is a great film.  I would happily pay in to see this film and would watch again in a heartbeat.  Now I must go and listen to what colour we’re painting the Staircase, so I’ve taken a sleeping tablet, see you in the morning.

Director:  Janus Metz
Writer: Ronnie Sandahl
Stars: Stellan SkarsgårdShia LaBeoufSverrir Gudnason, & more… See full cast & crew

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