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Challengers
 
Year : 2024
Country : United-States


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DokBrowne  [ 9.0 ]    [ add to preferred ]    [ email this review to a friend ]

Game set match! Unlike most people, I wasn't even looking forward to seeing this - I was lukewarm on both Guadagnino's other sweeping romances "Call Me by Your Name" and "Bones and All", and hype for a movie can be alienating when it centers so much around actors you yourself aren't so interested in as to be stalking them on social media or whatever makes people care so much about Zendaya these days - but I stand fully corrected about that after watching this triumphant fusion of romance, sports and complex, dynamic characterization. Guadagnino directs the ever-loving hell out of a screenplay by Justin Kuritzkes writing the ever-loving hell out of a smacking, cleverly jumbled timeline love triangle shot by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom filming the ever-loving hell out of an exhilarating 2+ hour experience set to fervent beats by Reznor & Ross scoring the ever-loving hell out of a cinematic maelstrom that makes love and tennis seem equally urgent and vital, as represented by Zendaya, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist acting the ever-loving hell out of a picture so fetishistically adoring of their every move, pose, expression and utterance that I was surprised later while browsing the Wikipedia cast list to realize that there are really no other relevant characters or actors in the movie whatsoever. It's a tunnel-vision showcase for the three of them and boy were all the right moves made. Filmmaking this layered, accomplished and both commercially and artistically sound comes along rarely. The symbiosis between all the different crafts working to create this project is phenomenal.

With stealth expert crowd-pleasing instincts - feels like a high-powered mainstream romantic drama from way back when Hollywood still proudly made movies like that on the regular - as well as sizzling energy (I was often reminded of "Run Lola Run" of all things), impactful textures (every thwack of a tennis ball, aka like 400 times throughout the movie, sounds like a gunshot, so up close and personal is the sound design, and you gotta love how he keeps finding newer and screwier ways to film tennis matches), intense erotic musk (without even any full-on sex scenes!) and old-fashioned movie star magic. I finally get the Zendaya hype (her previous film performances were nothing compared to this), Mike Faist gives a comparable follow-up to his terrific break-out work in "West Side Story" and oohh man does this picture make a meal out of Josh O'Connor. Even if you already liked him before this, get ready to become obsessed. He's off the charts charismatic.

This, Zack Snyder, this is how you make a movie that's justifiably 40% slo-mo. Watch and learn.

What a mic drop, stand up and cheer ending too. A film for the ages

 
Weighted Rating : 7.1
No. Ratings : 1
No. Reviews : 1


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2024 1
2020's 7
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2020's 77
All-time 8167
 


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