Written and directed by Julien Faraut and narrated by Mathieu Amalric, JOHN McENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION revisits the rich bounty of 16-mm-shot footage of the left-handed tennis star John McEnroe, at the time the world’s top-ranked player, as he competes in the French Open at Paris’s Roland Garros Stadium in 1984.
Close-ups and slow motion sequences of McEnroe competing, as well as instances of his notorious temper tantrums, highlight a ”man who played on the edge of his senses.”
Far from a traditional documentary, Faraut probes the archival film to unpack both McEnroe’s attention to the sport and the footage itself, creating a lively and immersive look at a driven athlete, a study on the sport of tennis and the human body and movement, and finally how these all intersect with cinema itself.
A sports documentary unlike any other. Looks at the game through the lense of film theory, recasting one of its most emotional and demanding athletes as something of an auteur.
Quite simply the greatest tennis film ever made and one of the finest documentaries to honor any sport.
Fascinating. Faraut strips down tennis; de Kermadec's footage strips down McEnroe's soul.
A benchmark cinematic experience. Even non-fans of sport will easily remain enraptured.
An idiosyncratic meditation on tennis, cinema, human behaviour, maybe even life itself. One-of-a-kind.
- LA Times