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Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

Challengers: I’m sorry, Tom Holland

Zendaya shocks fans with racy new movie
Helen Nang

Aside from in the matches, Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor served looks for two hours straight. From the moment I was introduced to the love-triangle dynamic that is the movie “Challengers,” I was hooked. As the plot thickens, I noticed one common denominator in the relationships. Zendaya’s character, Tashi, is manipulative, sociopathic, stone-cold heartthrob and no one can get enough of her. Not Art, her husband, and not his former best friend and her ex-lover, Patrick. It’s twisted and I am obsessed.

Tashi takes the term ‘girl boss’ to a whole nother level. Amy from “Gone Girl” level crazy. A former tennis prodigy, her entitlement to her talent twisted with her fate of an early injury served as a recipe for life-long resentment for those who could successfully play. More specifically, for Art, who got too lazy to continue his career playing tennis. Given her obsession with success and a strong work ethic, she tells him if he does not win his match against Patrick, she will leave him. How can a character be so awful, yet never be the villain? Because it’s Zendaya. Love-love.

Luca Guadagnino, director of “Challengers” as well as other masterpieces such as “Call Me By Your Name” and “Bones and All” has a very evident specialty in twist- ed romance. Characters poisoned with infidelity and lust are portrayed in various unique visuals that encapsulate the deception and distress they feel. Upon meeting Art and Patrick, Tashi introduces the idea that tennis is a relationship between players, an extended metaphor for the relations between her, Art, and Patrick that remain unspoken throughout the movie yet is still addressed through attention to details. Whether it is the drops of sweat, the sultry food being eaten, or the player’s racquet ticks, hidden meanings of the love triangle relationship can be found in any aspect of the game of tennis. It is a genius concept that I have never seen within a movie before. Advance Guadagnino.

Regarding the time jumps within the movie, I could see how it could be confusing to some viewers, but honestly if you can’t follow the announcements of the flashbacks that appear on the screen, just look to see if Zendaya has a bob haircut or not. It’s a tell-tale sign.

Don’t even get me started on the scoring. Each melody has a certain house-music type of feel that enhances the dramatics of the entire movie. Correlating with high-pressured scenes in the movie, on and off the court, high-techno pulses intensely, exhilarating both the characters and viewers. Every time a sound of music was heard was another inch I moved closer to the edge of my seat. If I do have one complaint for this movie, it would be the massive queer baiting that was marketed in desperation for a larger audience. Spoiler alert, Art and Patrick aren’t really homosexual. Yes, there are a couple scenes that some would most definitely classify the two as gay. Yet, the entire movie is Art and Patrick pining over Tashi while they hold sexual tension with one another for
the duration of the movie without anything actually happening. The closest they got to forming a romantic relationship were only the scenes where they shared sexual foods such as churros or bananas with unnecessary intimate eye contact. It was marketed with the appeal of a queer relationship, when really it was just two losers with no self respect who are willing to do anything for Tashi. So basically anyone else on planet Earth.

After two nights and three days of its release, I cannot stop thinking about this movie and I don’t think I will stop anytime soon. The attractive cast, creative concept, morally-twisted plotline, and insanely beautiful visuals will have me in a chokehold for the next month or so.

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