Haiku Review: Borg vs McEnroe

Borg vs McEnroe
Written by Ronnie Sandahl
Directed by Janus Metz


A great rivalry;
Two parallel arcs, unknown;
A sensory feast.

Watch in Theater Immediately
**Pickup at Redbox Upon Release**

Stream on Netflix/Watch on Cable
Don’t Waste Your Time


I will be damned. Someone made a film about tennis…and I liked it. Quite a bit, in fact. I would have rated it a “see in theater immediately” if I thought it was still playing anywhere, but even our local arthouse closed if after a very short run. This is a standout sports story about a magical time in tennis history, when Bjorn Borg was on his way to his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title. The quiet, reserved Swede has one final roadblock in front of him: the brash, vulgar American John McEnroe. Honestly, you couldn’t script a better rivalry if you tried, and the best part is it was all real. But where the film succeeds the most is revealing the true nature of each character. Sure, McEnroe will go down in history for his outbursts directed at umpires, media and fans, but it all came from a place of pure passion. And Borg wasn’t the ice-veined machine that his image suggested. He was just as tortured as his opponent (molded by years of relentless, meticulous training and coaching), but on the inside. Both of them bottled rage like an overachieving winery, but only one knew how to uncork the bottle to relieve pressure. Both performances are excellent, and film is a visual treat, with some absolutely amazing photography and lighting as well as great attention to periodic detail. It really is something to see. And the score blew me away, particularly the emotion it conveys in the final set piece, the final match of the 1980 Wimbledon tournament, and the brief denouement that follows. This film is a joy, across the board!

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