Sorry I couldn’t get to these movies sooner, one of them I was out of town when it premiered on HBO, the other took awhile to be available to see. So here are my reviews for “Borg vs McEnroe” & the HBO film “Paterno”.
Borg vs McEnroe
Featuring gripping performances by Shia LaBeouf & Sverrir Gudnason as the title characters, “Borg vs McEnroe” dives into our title characters lives both on & off the court. We learn in the film how Borg & McEnroe were painted as polar opposites. One being the calm & collected gentleman, while the other was the hated loose cannon. We learn in the film how untrue that actually was & how Borg had just learned to harness his anger. That element of the film is quite strong & though I don’t know how accurate that is, it brings a lot of development to its title characters. As you might imagine this very much seems to be the role the Shia LaBeouf was born to play. As he himself might be able to relate to what McEnroe went through. But for anyone whoever doubted him as an actor, this is definitely a performance to prove you wrong. Though the film drags at points, it’s strong editing & final 30 minutes will have you on edge of your seat with the thrilling Borg vs. McEnroe finals match.
Easily the highlight of this film is the performance given by Al Pacino as Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Over these past few years it has seemed that Pacino has phoned in multiple performances, but here he is quite mesmerizing. Especially in the scenes where we see him wandering through his house trying to put together what he had overlooked. I will say that the film doesn’t fully paint Paterno as a villain who helped cover up the Sandusky abuses, but that he just didn’t do enough. The film does feel it’s length at points & comes off a little unfocused as well. We see the film getting unfocused while trying to balance it’s second story line, which is from journalist Sara Ganim’s perspective. The film also doesn’t really add anything new to the story & can get a little repetitive. At the end of the day if you had a lot of interest in the story or want to see a strong Pacino performance check this film out.