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Challengers (2024): The Ultimate Tennis Drama

'Challengers' is packed with more complex layers than you realize.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 2 months ago 3 min read

You don’t know what tennis is about.

Challengers is a 2024 film. Former best friends, Art Donaldson and Patrick Zweig, are paired up in the final tennis match. Tashi, a former tennis prodigy turned coach pits the players, causing tensions to run high.

Challengers took my breath away. I had my doubts about this movie which were destroyed in this polarizing sports drama. I watched this movie alone in a theater which only enhanced my viewing experience. Challengers is a captivating, styled, and brilliantly directed film that conquers intense relationships, tennis matches, and passion.

Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor each deliver praiseworthy performances. These characters have an intense history that has affected their behavior and relationships. The actors had to get very close to the film’s now-infamous love scene.

I have seen Zendaya in other films and she achieves an enigmatic performance as Tashi, a tennis prodigy with more sinister intentions. Zendaya expresses remarkable depth in this nuanced portrayal. Her greatest performance resulted in the climax as Tashi’s nerves declined from her stoic composure.

Challengers is a masterpiece of acting, editing, and styled filmmaking. The astute direction entrances viewers with every shot. Luca Guadagino directed a complex film, packed with more layers than you realize. This is not just a film about tennis. It’s an exploration of ambition and the pursuit of passion.

Based on the intimate scene trailers and viewers polarized for its savory details, Challengers is not an erotic drama, which I took a breath of relief. I have seen too many films lately that have taken an unneeded porn route. Challengers is more about the sexual tension that ruined the character's pathways.

Filmmakers chose a non-linear technique to tell the story which is unique compared to most sports-based films. It’s not narrated in chronological order. It was a little confusing because the only way to indicate the time jump was Zendaya’s different hairstyles.

The film begins at the final match, only to intercept flashbacks from decades or even 24 hours before the final game. Eventually, the time jumps work as we comprehend the tension of this game.

The visuals are intense. The tennis matches are brought to life with breathtaking precision, thanks to impressive visual effects and dynamic camerawork. Each competition beats like a rapid pulse, drawing the audience into the intense world of competitive sports.

I know it’s only on-screen but I repeatedly flinched when the ball bolted towards the camera. This is the most extreme tennis film I have ever seen. Filmmakers achieved unique visual edits never seen in a tennis film, like the tennis ball replicating a first-person perspective and the ground becomes see-through.

Filmmakers up the stress and tension in the final minutes. The intensity builds and builds throughout the film until I was sitting on the edge of my seat. I totally forgot I was alone in the theater! I felt like I was holding my breath during the final twenty minutes.

As sweat drips off the characters' faces, the music and the tennis ball smacking against the racket make your head hurt. To match the extreme ferocity of the character's feud, edits and visuals hammer the adrenaline into you.

Challengers symbolize how fame dominates people to be their best. This film dictates the dark side of passions. Once you understand what is at play, it makes sense. Now I want to see this movie a second time. The ending has been on my mind a lot.

Challengers is not what I thought it would be and I enjoyed every minute. Go see Challengers in theaters.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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    Marielle SabbagWritten by Marielle Sabbag

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