It is the 1980 Wimbledon tennis championship. Bjorn Borg is the number 1 tennis player in the world and the undisputed king of Wimbledon. He has won the tournament four times in a row - a fifth consecutive time would be a world first. However, a new face has appeared in the tennis world and presents a serious threat to Borg's title hopes - John McEnroe.Written by
In the scene where Björn Borg enters a bar/café and to hide from fans and use the phone, a bottle of Hendrick's Gin can be seen on the shelf behind the waiter. Hendrick's Gin was only launched in 1999. See more »
You can't be serious! You can not be serious! The ball was on the line! Chalk flew all over, man. The chalk flew up! He saw it. That's why he's walking all over it. Everyone saw it was in. You cannot possibly call that out.
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Despite not being a sporty person (always one of the subjects that saw me struggling most in school, particularly when it came to co-ordination and sometimes speed), that doesn't stop me from finding some of them interesting to watch portrayed in television matches and film.
Tennis is one of the more interesting and easy to watch sports to me and this particular story is one of the most fascinating in the history of the sport. 'Borg vs McEnroe' was seen for those reasons and on the most part it doesn't disappoint. There may be better biopics around, but 'Borg vs McEnroe' both intrigues and entertains, it's emotion-filled, affectionate, absorbing and mostly respectful. Anyone who loves tennis or is fascinated by the story or biopics in general will find a lot to like about 'Borg vs McEnroe' and despite the 15 certificate, for some swearing and some topless shots (that one can find for themselves as to whether they find them necessary or not), it's more accessible than one would think.
Borg's story has a little more flesh, although McEnroe is the more colourful character in personality, Borg being calmer and McEnroe being more extroverted. Borg's story has a lot of genuine power and really resonates emotionally. McEnroe is still interesting, but his relationship with his parents could have been expanded upon more which would have made some of his motivations clearer.
Furthermore the title cards are cheesy and over-explanatory, also making broad statements like at the start and doing nothing to back them up. The Studio 54 nightclub scene didn't serve much point and the representation of the media, while perhaps not too far from the truth, was on the heavy-handed and extreme side.
On the other hand, 'Borg vs McEnroe' is very solidly made visually, nicely shot and does nothing to undermine any transitions or shifts. The music complements well and Janus Metz directs with clear passion and enthusiasm for the subject.
Scripting is intelligent and thought-provoking, it intrigues and entertains throughout and does well in allowing one to care for the characters and the story while also having a lot of heart that makes 'Borg vs McEnroe' very moving. The story is both uplifting and poignant, structurally it's always cohesive and rarely disjointed even if some parts are better explored than others. The tennis sequences capture the excitement and tension of the sport very compellingly and accurately.
A huge part of what makes 'Borg vs McEnroe' work so well is the cast. Sverrir Gudnason is excellent as Borg, and no it's not just the uncanny physical resemblance, it's how poignantly collected he is and how he plays the role with depth and intensity. Stellan Skarsgard brings a lot of subtlety and quiet dignity, while Tuva Novotny, David Bamber and Robert Emms do more than serviceably making their characters more than caricatures (although not a lot of attention is given to their development enough). Was most surprised by Shia LaBeouf in one of his best and most committed performances as McEnroe, providing that he is more than capable when making good choices and when the material allows it.
In summary, very intriguing and well done. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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