Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen and starring Shia LaBeouf and Sverrir Dudnason as the leads, Borg McEnroe is the tale of the infamous rivalry between ace tennis players Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe which finally led to the playoff in 1980’s Wimbledon. The movie deviates from the superficial differences of these two players and cultivates more into their personal traits of various emotions, philosophy, and psychology. In this bilingual drama with the main focus on Borg, his shades of obsessiveness, superstitions and anger issues have been portrayed oh so beautifully by Sverrir Dudnason.
The stoic and ossified character of Borg and the temperamental brat McEnroe come together in the battle of the century, but the movie does not hold on to the climatic match as the main priority. In fact, the director takes on a healthy comparison between these two characters and how each one formulated their emotional structure into building their image. It is a silky mixture of palates on screen giving the vibes of the 1980’s melodramatic scene. That the two men are of similar nature is what the film is about. Exploring more about Borg, his moments of low and his turbulent relationship with self-control, the tale is somewhat achingly appealing. On the other hand, McEnroe with the zeal to burst out any moment showcases the same emotional instabilities as Borg. The graph of their story from being strangers to rivals to friends has been held together by the strong performances.
Sverrir Dudnason was outstanding in the role of Borg and he pushed his physical tenure by training for 6 months for this role! He plays the volcano of a person that Borg was effortless. His isolation and vulnerable nature that led to the sobbing scene in the shower is a true testament to the years of compromise both as a player and as a person with moral virtues. Shia Labeouf as the ferocious and young McEnroe may let out his emotions as an extrovert, but inside he identifies a whole lot with Borg.
The counterpart characters had a valid wavelength going on and the emotional turmoil to this supposed postmodern period drama culminates into a beautiful story and script. Other cast includes Stellen Skarsgard as Lennart Bergalin, coach to Borg, the strict, emotionless disciplinarian who made his way into Borg’s life. Tuva Novotny as Mariana Simionescu is the fiancé to Borg and portrays the tension between them in the most practical depiction. The cast was heavy as a team and made full utilization of their time on screen. In a relatively tricky plot, acting is what makes the movie go forward.
The rivalry between two ace players is not the central figure of the movie. It is actually the underlying respect and fascination for each other that led to the collapse of things. The film is an honest attempt that effectively captured various dimensions of the celebrities. The greatest feats in life are not the battlefield, but putting together the scattered segments of emotional insecurities that helps one find peace is what the movie conveys to its audience.