film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, September 10, 2022

McEnroe 2022 * * * Stars


If you don't know anything about John McEnroe, well you've probably been living under a rock. If you do know something about "Johnny Mac" (and I do), well 2022's McEnroe isn't gonna reinvent the wheel in terms of insight via the tennis great. Yeah we know he got mad and irate on the court. Yeah we know about his rivalry with Bjorn Borg and his friendship with the late Vitas Gerulaitis. Yeah we know that he plays a mean guitar and is a lifelong New Yorker. Now let's see how the whole shebang is handed out shall we.

So yeah, McEnroe is almost like a bullet point presentation that's chronological and la-di-da in its approach. The actual John McEnroe would never admit to it but his whole presence here verges on self-serving (no pun intended). But wait, I digress. McEnroe is expertly filmed by Barney Douglas and that's from a look and interview standpoint. Douglas goes for the 70s grain approach, showing rough cut archive footage that feels like you've entered a freaking time machine. McEnroe bleeds nostalgia when tennis was at its peak. It's all about the headbands, the wooden rackets, the rock 'n' roller, tennis line of action. John McEnroe was truly um, John McEn-fro. Natch.

McEnroe's hook is that it paints John as a regular Joe, a sort of mere mortal who still puts his pants on one leg at a time. I mean why else would a film crew follow him in present day, roaming the outskirts of New York City in the middle of the night. Uncanny. McEnroe also gives us probes of John McEnroe's inner circle that are candid and raw. The camera sort of peeks in when it knows it shouldn't. I can dig it. Overall, McEnroe is a documentary of a tennis legend that's an exercise in well worn style. It's worth recommending even though we've seen this net corded rodeo before.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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