It’s Ice-Borg vs Superbrat:  Review of Borg vs McEnroe by Rashid Irani

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Borg vs McEnroe

  • Direction: Janus Metz
  • Actors: Sverrir Gudnason, Shia LaBeouf
  • Rating: 3 / 5

This crowd-pleasing biopic traces the epic rivalry between the Swedish tennis legend Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason) and the American John McEnroe (Shia LaBeouf), which reached its peak at the 1980 Wimbledon final.

Their marathon five-set showdown is widely considered one of the most thrilling contests in the annals of the game.

Working from a cleverly structured script by Ronnie Sandahl, Danish director Janus Metz (Armadillo) emphasises the similarities and the differences in the outlook and temperaments of the two men.

Dubbed the ‘Ice-Borg’, the cool-as-a-cucumber four-time Swedish champion was on course for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon crown.

Flashbacks reveal that the uber-cool Borg too had anger management issues in his youth. Guided by his no-nonsense coach (Stellan Skarsgard), he learned to keep his temper in check, channelling energy instead into perfecting his strokes.

In sharp contrast, the American enfant terrible, nicknamed ‘Superbrat’, garnered more attention for his courtside tantrums than his ferocious serve-and-volley style.

Spot-on casting ensures that Gudnason and LaBeouf are credible in their tennis action as well as in the dramatic interludes leading up to the climactic clash.

As is indicated in the title, more screen time is accorded to the Swedish icon than to his American counterpart. Even so, Borg Vs McEnroe is an even-handed sports movie that merits a look-see.

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