Zendaya’s ‘Challengers’ scores, three-love

By Quinton Prudhomme

General Assignments Editor

 

“Challengers,” at its core, is a movie about tennis.

“Challengers” follows tennis duo Art Donaldson and Patrick Zweig, played by Mike Faist and Josh O’Connor respectively, and their competitive romantic endeavors for tennis star Tashi Duncan, played by Zendaya.

The score composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross makes you sit up and focus like you’re at a sporting event. The intense ’80s drum mix commands the audience’s attention to the competitive nature of the film.

While Zendaya gave one of the more impressive acting performances of the year, the real story takes place between the two male leads. Their relationship is one of love and competition. Every time they talk to each other it feels like a volley at a tennis match.

The thick and underlying romantic chemistry between Patrick and Art is so dense it couldn’t be cut with a knife. Every time these two were on screen interacting with each other I couldn’t help but watch their body language convey how they really felt.

While the acting and the score were definitely the highlights, this film does have sore spots.

The film has a run time of 2 hours and 11 minutes. A lot of that time wasn’t used to push the story forward. There was a lot of dead space with awkward prolonged pauses that deflated tension and pulled me out of the intense competitive energy the movie cultivated throughout its duration.

The experimental cinematography especially towards the last half of the movie only kind of works. Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom lets you feel what it’s like being in Patrick and Art’s tennis match of a relationship. Every angle and every piece of dialogue being shot like each person is hitting a ball with a racket is truly incredible.

The final scene was some of the best cinema I have ever seen. The tension between Patrick, Tashi and Art was stressful and intriguing. The ’80s drums pounding in your head make your heart pound and all of a sudden the movie is over leaving you wanting more. It felt like someone accidentally edited the last 30 seconds of the film out and no one on the editing team noticed.

Overall I think this movie should be seen, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it won an Oscar or two. Zendaya again proves her place among the new pantheon of movie stars.

Final Score 8.4/10

Quinton Prudhomme

Staff reporter with a love for news, culture and sports.

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