Helmed by Janus Metz Pedersen, Borg McEnroe revolves around the 1980 Wimbledon final clash between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, recreating the epic ‘fire and ice’ battle between the two. The movie is based on one of the most storied contests in tennis history. The film features Shia LaBeouf, Sverrir Gudnason, Stellan Skarsgard, Tuva Novotny in pivotal roles. While the majority of the audience find the biopic to be nerve-racking, that leaves one gasping for breath, others feel that they have seen better sports movies. Now let’s take a look at what the critics have to say about the film.
Times Of India: Not many sports films manage to go beyond listing down the on-field victories and defeats of an athlete. They either succumb to idol worship by revering the sportsman or solely milk the controversies that made headlines. The psychological tenacity that goes into the making of a champion is often overlooked. Janus Metz’s unnerving character study of Tennis legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe smartly decodes that unexplored aspect of sportsmen. What lies beneath the glories and tribulations? In quintessential Tennis lingo, Janus Metz’s biopic is a nerve-racking five-setter that leaves you gasping for breath. Like a classic centre court final, this tense and thrilling, thus evoking unprecedented attention throughout. Borg’s motto – ‘One point at a time’ is also perhaps the most significant life lesson that one can take home from this stunning masterpiece that studies two men, who played to win. ALSO READ: (Anushka Sharma – Virat Kohli Wedding: Cricketer’s Friends And Coach Leave For Milan?)
Hindustan Times: Having languished for a decade on the Indian tennis circuit, that no other film has captured the tumultuous experience of playing the sport better than Borg McEnroe. The actual tennis looks convincing, an achievement that should go a long way with fans, who can easily be turned away by messy recreations of their favourite sport (I’m looking at you, Kirsten Dunst). But as a piece of filmmaking, we deserve better. As a sports film, we’ve seen better.
The Hindu: Filmmaker Janus Metz Pedersen spends a leisurely 20 minutes in a 107-minute film on the Wimbledon match, crafting the sequence in a turbulent and thrilling fashion. There’s a lot at stake for the two men, and Pedersen makes that fairly evident. Gudnason as Borg aptly and impressively plays a volcano always on the verge of eruption but never does, even on the big day. The only moment you see him crack is in a shower scene, where he is mildly sobbing, allowing himself the luxury of emotions. Borg McEnroe is clearly more invested in him, as evident in the film’s Swedish title – Borg. But despite that LaBeouf manages to match up as the capricious McEnroe.
Scroll.in: Janus Metz Pedersen’s Borg McEnroe aims to be both a tennis movie and a psychological study of two players at the midway point between descent and ascent. The Wimbledon match is more evenly balanced than the plot, which is tipped heavily in Borg’s favour. Greater attention is paid to his early years, his struggles with his temper and the expectations placed on him, and his anxiety over McEnroe’s mercurial rise. Some stylistic decisions result in unnecessary drama aimed at keying up the anticipated clash by several notches. The anachronistic use of jump cuts and rapid-fire editing in several sequences is a misfire, given the period setting. The melodramatic treatment of Borg’s nervousness, including weeping in the shower, is the equivalent of watching an interminable tie-breaker. The movie works better when it slows down to examine its characters and the actors who beautifully play them. Sverrir Gudnason and Shia LeBeouf are in top form, both on and off the court, and the match itself is a satisfyingly tense nail-biter despite the ridiculous flashbacks during key match points.