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Challengers – Review

Challengers directed by Luca Guadagnino on the surface is a tennis movie centered around a central love triangle. Tashi played by Zendaya is a former tennis player who manages her husband tennis a tennis player named Art play by Mike Faist. When Patrick an old friend of the couple is reintroduced into their lives old drama rises to the surface and the trio finds themselves in a match of tennis that could change their lives.

After seeing Challengers twice I can confidently say that the movie is superb. It fires on all cylinder and the perfect parts of this movie come together to create a beautifully suspenseful and sexy film. Here is my review for Challengers. Fair warning there will be slight spoilers discussed within this review but nothing too big is discussed.


Blood Sweat and Tennis

As I said before the movie revolves around three central characters. Tashi is a cutthroat character that knows what she wants and will manipulate who she can to get it. She finds herself in the middle of these two men and what I love about her character is that that she holds her own. The movie manages to achieve the massive undertaking that is to make Zendaya unlikeable. Zendaya leads her first film outright and she gives her best performance to date. Nuanced and complicated Tashi is a characters that you have to love. She is constantly using the two men to achieve her goals but at the same time you can tell that she cares about them in some twisted way especially in the case of Art.

Art’s character is sympathetic but also a frustrating one. As he is juggled within the good graces of Tashi Duncan you feel empathetic to his struggles, but what this movie does so well is manage to flip perspectives and perspectives on character’s in a whim. Patrick is a good example of this. The film constantly tries to paint him as the bad guy but as the movie unfolds we fund out that some of his behavior is justified as the other two characters, especially Tashi who pulls some pretty despicable stunts in the movie. Josh O Conner and Mike Faist crush these rolls giving them both nuance and humanity.

The script is superb and is filled with callbacks with one in particular being a third act crowd pleaser. The script goes about exploring the trios relationship in a very creative way. Instead of going through the plot chronologically we start the movie centered around the climactic last match. From then on we get flashes to the past which further recontextualizes the match at hand. Each time we flash back to the present a new story thread is fresh in the audiences mind. Once you get the whole story of what happened between these characters the film ends on a breathtaking match of tennis.


Enjoying The View

The cinematography and direction here is fantastic. Every frame an art piece. It’s shot in a way that reminds me of a summer afternoon similar to Guadagnino’s other film Call Me By Your Name. The way Guadagnino shoots the tennis matches are also excellent. He keeps the energy of the different matches going throughout and the last match of the movie is some of the best tennis that I have seen in a movie. Whether the audience becomes the ball or we view the court from below instead of above, Guadagnino keeps it fresh.

Challengers soundtrack shouldn’t really support this movie in the ways that it does but the soundtrack of this movie is blood pumping. Techno beats mix with funky synths creating a sort of 80’s sports commercial feel. It just adds to the movies vibes and during the tennis matches it elevates the film.

A Fresh Serve

Challengers is a perfect film. I don’t really know what else to say other than that this is a movie that needs to be seen. It goes beyond being just a tennis movie but transcends to so much more. Challengers is available in theatres and on streaming. Don’t forget to check out Caitlyn’s review for In Memoriam by Alice Winn and Samuel’s breakdown for the Rings of Power season 2 trailer. For everything else geeky stay right here on Geekwave.


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About the Contributor
Ronny Hammond
Ronny Hammond, Director of Geekwave
Ronny goes by he/him pronouns and is a Junior at the U. He loves to read and write and is currently obtaining his Bachelors degree in English and Game Design. He has a deep love for video games and would always be up talk your ear off about The Last Of Us. You can read up on his game reviews and listen to his guest appearances on the Crimson Gaming Corner and Wishful Thinking podcasts right here on Geekwave.