Borg vs. McEnroe
Panorama | Special Presentations
One of the greatest tennis matches of all time—the 1980 Wimbledon Men’s Final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe—provides the baseline drama for this riveting sports movie. The media position it as a clash of opposites: the cool, imperturbable Swede vs. the hot, volatile New Yorker—the master vs. the upstart—but the film suggests the two young men actually share much in common. And like all the best tennis games, this memorable final proves a nail-biting psychological thriller, a contest not so much of skill as of nerve.
At the grand old age of 25, Borg is on course for his fifth straight Wimbledon title. His patient, unflappable style and impeccable technique have made him unbeatable. But McEnroe, at 21, is aggressive, brilliant and unpredictable, and he’s ready to put his stamp on Centre Court. Director Janus Metz comes from documentary (including the intense Afghan war doc Armadillo), but he shoots the game in ways we have never seen before and elicits superb performances from Shia LaBeouf as McEnroe and Sverrir Gudnason (an uncanny lookalike) as Borg. The always-excellent Stellan Skarsgård is the Swede’s trainer and mentor. It’s the first tennis movie to truly ace it.