Borg & McEnroe, Not Exactly Chums

DATELINE: Clash of the KooKoo Birds

great acting

Telling great sports rivalries has become a movie goldmine for Bobby and Billie as well as Bird and Magic. The latest sports film is called Borg Vs. McEnroe.

However, the two most unlikeable figures among elites are the pairing of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in 1980. If you don’t remember how it turned out, this movie’s suspense will be enhanced.

Essentially this is the story of two crazed competitors. Yes, we guessed that to compete at a high level you must be touched in the head. Indeed, these two may seem dissimilar, but both were “not quite right in the head,” according to the movie.

The Swede was often called Ice Borg or CyBorg, to indicate he was a robotic and inhuman creature. On the other hand, American John McEnroe comes across as Norman Bates in a McEn-psycho mode.

There really was no relationship between them outside the tennis court. They were not enemies, friends, or even friendly antagonists. They barely acknowledged the other in person.

Instead of showing us, the movie prologue states that the 1980 match changed both men. We never see that. Epilogue cards tell us they became best friends and even served as best man at the other’s wedding. We don’t see any of that.

As for the performances, they are uniformly brilliant. Shia Labeouf is perfect as McEnroe, and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnasson is equal to the ice borg. They are riveting in the roles, and that makes the film well worth your time and investment.