'Borg/McEnroe' is an intense retelling of tennis history (TIFF review)
Danish director Janus Metz brings a fantastic bit of tennis history back to life in 'Borg/McEnroe', starring Sverrir Gudnason as Borg, Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and Stellan Skarsgård as Borg's trainer, Lennart Bergelin.
At the 1980 Wimbledon Championships, John McEnroe changed the game of tennis (a "gentleman's sport") forever. But he had to face Björn Borg, up for his fifth consecutive title.
Both under hyper-pressure, they had their own way of dealing with the situation. One lashing out, while the other goes to extreme OCD levels to recreate a win.
At times 'Borg/McEnroe' feels like a psychological thriller. There's a lot of tennis in the movie, of course, but it's almost like two character studies, and then letting them clash.
The tennis is well done, and the film is finely tuned — sometimes a bit too slick maybe — but the real stars of the show are the great actors bringing this intense story to the court.
Sverrir Gudnason drives the movie as Borg, as the movie focuses on him, his fame, but especially the enormous psychological burden he has. At the other side we have Shia LaBeouf, almost as if he was made for the part. Cursing at the judges during the game, playing his opponents (and former friends), while preparing for the big battle in the end.
'Borg/McEnroe' may not go down as the best sports movie ever made, but it's a spectacular study of the mythical battle between two of the greats in tennis.
#TIFF17 Opening Night Gala Presentation.
'Borg/McEnroe' will have it's US release in 2018 and it'll premiere in the UK on September 22.