Shia LaBeouf

REVIEW: Borg vs McEnroe (2017)

The story of the rivalry between the enigmatic Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and the brash John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf) with a focus on the 1980 Wimbledon Championship.

Borg vs McEnroe is a great insight into two legends of tennis. It’s a bit uneven in the time spent with each man, with more of a focus on Borg which is a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s a good thing because out of the two he is generally the one who is more private and less is known about him so seeing him as a child and teenager shows how he became the champion in was in the 1980’s. but on the other hand, every time the focus shifts to McEnroe, the screen crackles with energy and that’s down to LaBeouf’s near perfect performance.

LaBeouf as McEnroe really was the highlight of the film for me but it was interesting to learn more about Borg and his relationship with his coach Lennart Bergelin (Stellan Skarsgård) and his fiancé Mariana Simionescu (Tuva Novoyny). All give good performances but Shia LaBeouf is the one who really shines.

All the tennis matches featured in Borg vs McEnroe are well-shot and exciting but it’s the 1980 Wimbledon Final between the two men that is truly thrilling. With the music building as each set progresses, the editing and the performances of the two leads it makes the final showdown between these two legends incredibly tense and exhilarating. Everything in Borg vs McEnroe has been building to this moment and it doesn’t disappoint.

The costuming, the music, the sets, everything is so incredibly 80’s and it all looks great. Borg vs McEnroe is a great, though slightly uneven, sports film. If you’re a tennis fan you may get more out of it but it’s themes of rivalries and underdogs are for everyone. 4/5.

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