Borg vs. McEnroe
Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen
A classic showdown, in headbands and short shorts
Sorry, Bjorn Borg—we had you all wrong, said Richard Whittaker in The Austin Chronicle. In this new dramatization of one of tennis’ most storied showdowns, the unflappable Swede of legend is portrayed as having been just as volcanic a young man as his rival, John McEnroe, and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason strips Borg bare to reframe the classic 1980 Wimbledon men’s final. Here, it’s not the consummate sportsman versus Superbrat; “it is rivalry as silent kinship.” Let’s face it, though, said Rafer Guzman in Newsday. “The real selling point here is watching Shia LaBeouf, one of the most widely reviled actors in showbiz, play his tennis industry doppelgänger.” Notorious for his own public outbursts, LaBeouf appears to have been born to play the racket-smashing McEnroe, and he’s so effective, “you might walk away liking both the character and the actor more than you expected.” The re-enactment of the five-set title match is nowhere near as exciting as the original was, said Kyle Smith in NationalReview.com. Even so, Borg vs. McEnroe makes “a beguiling character study,” a duel between a Scandinavian royal who’s fatally unsure of himself and “an impetuous young king in waiting.” Even Shakespeare might be intrigued.