Sunday, 10 September 2017

BORG/MCENROE - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Opening Night TIFF 2017 Gala a major dud!

Good Boy/Bad Boy of Wimbledon find common ground.

Borg/McEnroe (2017)
Dir. Janus Metz
Scr. Ronnie Sandahl
Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Stellan Skarsgård, Sverrir Gudnason

Review By Greg Klymkiw

One of the greatest rivalries in professional sports remains that of 80s tennis champs Bjorn Borg (the height of Swedish civility) and John McEnroe (the nadir of American vulgarity). As such, one might expect a decent enough sports biopic inherent in the subject matter. Not so with Borg/McEnroe.

Director Janus Metz and screenwriter Ronnie Sandahl serve up this tepid misfire with one sloppy volley after another. What we get here is little more than a series of uninspired recreations of tennis matches, a whole lot of clichéd flashbacks leading up to the famed Wimbledon match and little in the way of genuine drama. So much of the movie feels like a Made-for-TV affair, but without the kind of crisp competence that might have made the movie watchable.

The tennis sequences are supremely disappointing - the lack of solid wide and/or long shots, way too many frenetic cuts and no sense of geography all adds up to a whole lot of nothing. The dramatic childhood and early adulthood flashbacks yield by-rote brush strokes of the pair and the most potentially interesting thing about them, their eventual friendship (borne out of rivalry and mutual sporting admiration) is left as a simple post-script at the picture's end.

LaBeouf continues to dazzle as an actor, relishing the opportunity to madly roil and saltily cuss his way through the proceedings. Sadly, poor Gudnason is allowed little more than stoicism as Borg ruminates upon his upcoming death-match at Wimbledon. Skarsgård is relegated to the ho-hum loyal coach perch.

Aside from the picture's near incompetence, it's a bore. That might be its greatest sin.


Borg/McEnroe is a Mongrel Media release at TIFF 2017.