CHALLENGERS – “A sweaty and pulsating psychosexual sports drama through and through”

zendaya-challengers

RATING

DIRECTOR

Directed by: Luca Guadagnino

MAIN CAST

Zendaya as Tashi Duncan
Josh O'Connor as Patrick Zweig
Mike Faist as Art Donaldson
Darnell Appling as New Rochelle Final Umpire
AJ Lister as Lily Donaldson

SYNOPSIS

Tashi Duncan, a former tennis prodigy turned coach after a career-ending injury, is married to a champion on a losing streak. Her strategy for her husband's redemption takes a surprising turn when he must face off against his former best friend, who is also Tashi's former boyfriend.

REVIEW SUMMARY

Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers is a sweaty and pulsating psychosexual sports drama through and through. The sweltering tale is also surprisingly tension filled. Trust me, the anxious energy is sure to keep you on the edge from start to finish. And hey, that’s saying something for a movie about a group of attractive tennis players in a twisted love triangle. Ok, so the movie is about more than that. It also tackles such themes as redemption, sacrifice, and even social status. And, if you are going in for the “sports” aspect, don’t worry, that also connects quite well. In fact, the film almost doubles as a showcase for the talent, determination, and drive needed to succeed in professional sports. And when the inevitable tennis showdown between the former friends goes down, it’s quite the ferocious fight – a real barnburner! Guadagnino also stylizes the gameplay in interesting ways. He takes the camera, and in turn, us, onto the court through some spectacularly unique techniques. There’s also an over-the-top throbbing soundtrack that does wonders in elevating the drama of it all. I mean, things can get cheeky at times (sometimes literally), but it never veers into soap opera territory. This is thanks, in part, to our talented lead trio of actors - each of whom wholly commit to their roles with palpable passion. And the fact that they convincingly portray their characters at different life stages (from teenagers to adults) makes their turns even more impressive. Also impressive is the film’s pacing. You see, things play out in non-linear fashion. The constant jumping back and forth is never confounding though. It keeps the movie moving at a brisk pace, making the 2 hour-plus runtime feel much less. Yep, when it comes to Challengers, it’s nothing but a “game, set, and match."

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