Friday, 26 April 2024 00:03

Challengers Featured

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Movie Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 Paws


Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Pascal Pictures and United Artists Releasing present an R rated, 131-minute, Romance, Sport, Drama, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by Justin Kuritzkes with a theater release of April 26, 2024.

Tashi Donaldson (Zendaya) was a bright star in the tennis world until she ended up breaking her leg during a match. At which time she found herself becoming a coach. At the top of her game, she met two young men in the tennis world, Art (Mike Faist) and his best friend since they were children, Patrick Zweig (Josh O’Connor). Both men had a fascination for Tashi and Tashi had a fascination for both men and possibly both men had a fascination for each other, or at times so it seems.

The story flashes back and forth from present to thirteen or less years earlier as we learn more about each of the lead players. Tashi ends up dating Patrick who later in life becomes a washed-up tennis player but she later marries Art who succeeds in his career. Their life together as coach and winner was good until later, Art is thinking of retiring and if he does Tashi feels like the excitement in their lives and purpose would end. It is current time and Art ends up playing his ex-best friend Patrick in a tournament game in New Rochelle, arranged by Tashi, for several reasons some selfish and some not so much. It is during this match that we learn so much about the relationships between all three, Tashi, Art and Patrick and just how mind bending their lives were and are in present time yet in the final seconds of the film you will definitely find yourself perplexed on what just happened.

I am not a tennis player but I give the players a high five since I know it is a grueling physical sport. So, I cannot say too much on the way they played but it all looked pretty intense to me by all three actors. I thought the writing was amazing and I liked the direction although in one scene when they decide to attach the camera to the players it made me a bit nauseous so if you have vertigo close your eyes for a short scene. The music was great and I enjoyed every bit of it even during times when it seemed a bit misplaced or loud. The back-drop is tennis but the main focus is really on young love and relationships all of which is complicated, emotional and revealing. As for revealing there are several nude scenes in the men’s showers and in the steam room which obviously was placed to add yet another shock value in both of those scenes. There are supporting actors and extras that fill in the gaps but the focus is one hundred percent on the three main characters all of which do a brilliant job portraying their characters. I found myself glued to the big screen wondering what was going to happen next. It may lean towards a younger audience or at least an audience with an open mind for almost anything goes. No animals are featured within this film.

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