JOHN MCENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION (L’EMPIRE DE LA PERFECTION)
(director/writer: Julian Faraut; cinematographer: Gil de Kermadec; editor: Julian Faraut; music: Serge Teyssot Gay; cast: Mathieu Amalric (Narrator), John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl; Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: William Jehannin, Raphaelle Delauche; OscilloscopeLaboratories; 2018-France-in French & English with English subtitles)
“It’s a different kind of sports film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
It’s an arthouse sports documentary written and directed with smarts by French filmmaker Julian Faraut (“Un regard neuf sur Olympia 52“) and narrated by Mathieu Amalric.
It covers the 1984 French open at Paris’s Roland Garros Stadium between John McEnroe vs. Ivan Lendl (a Czech-American) as if it were doing a film on tennis instruction. At the time, McEnroe was the world’s top-ranked player. It’s filled with archival footage (16mm color footage) that zeroes in on the competitive and driven American Mac’s temper tantrums and his attention to the game details. It’s a different kind of sports film that caught my attention despite not being a tennis fan.
The star of the film is French cinematographer Gil de Kermadec, who was granted unprecedented access to the match in question and focused intensely on the outspoken McEnroe and his notorious ways on the court.Kermadec built a rep shooting instructional films on how to play tennis. By the way, Mac lost in the final to Ivan Lendl over five sets.
REVIEWED ON 1/1/2019 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/