It is a pleasure, in addition to a reduction, to give you the chance now to see the second a part of Alex Gibney’s documentary concerning the disgraced German tennis legend who astonished the sports activities world by successful the Wimbledon males’s singles title in 1985 at simply 17, and has wound up in center age going to prison within the UK for hiding assets after bankruptcy.
Very sadly and confusingly, the Berlin movie competition confirmed simply the first half of this Apple TV+ documentary (like displaying half a film) – an much more perplexing resolution on condition that the competition confirmed Charles Ferguson’s Watergate documentary in its four-hour entirety in 2019 and all 252 minutes of Nanette Burstein’s Hillary Clinton documentary in 2020. And what’s extra, the movie’s distributor appeared not to make sure that this single episode was clearly billed as half considered one of a much bigger manufacturing. It’s an object lesson within the risks of placing a slice of streaming TV content material into a movie competition.
However in any respect occasions, this second half (which Berlin shouldn’t be screening) has put to relaxation my structural criticisms. This new episode does certainly take a more in-depth take a look at Boris’s private life: the racism he and his spouse skilled from the German and British press when he married a girl of color, Barbara Feltus, and his extramarital shenanigans – the so-called “broom closet” one-night-stand incident at London’s Nobu restaurant (although truly it was a small workplace). We hear in entertaining element about Boris’s later rising reliance on crafty and gamesmanship to win matches towards youthful opponents, and Gibney amusingly exhibits that he used very related mind-game ways in court docket towards his spouse’s lawyer when it got here to divorce.
After which there may be the grim finale of Boris Becker’s imprisonment, all of the extra extraordinary on condition that he did not be taught his lesson after being fined by the German tax authorities 20 years earlier than: a narrative of hubris, monetary naivety and fairly a little bit of conceitedness. The movie exhibits that Becker’s undoubted raconteur appeal doesn’t solely conceal that conceitedness.
I’ve to say that a few of my reservations concerning the redundant and barely tedious materials stand: all of the historical past of his profession from the mid-80s to the early 90s on the finish of half one is a bit repetitive, and the story partially two of how he coached Novak Djokovic isn’t gripping contemplating that the viewers is inevitably on tenterhooks ready for the main points of his criminality. I couldn’t assist considering that this might have been slimmed down right into a single, chunky, satisfying two-hour-plus documentary. However I’m glad now to have gotten the entire image: essentially the most spectacular rise and fall in fashionable sports activities historical past.