Challengers Movie Review

When you’re hot, you’re hot. Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman has amassed quite the film and television resume in her short career. She’s been in some of the top-grossing films of the last decade and has real career momentum. She also has the successful side hustle of being a pop star and fashion icon. With this in the background, we now have the film Challengers.

Using the sport of tennis as a backdrop, Challengers ramps up the drama between Zendaya and her two friends Patrick Zweig played by Josh O’Connor best known as Prince Charles in the TV series The Crown and Art Donaldson (Mike Faist who played Riff in 2021’s West Side Story). The three make quite the power trio but as the story evolves and more information becomes available you realise the power is held by just one.



It’s a testament to Zendaya’s increasing skill of craft that even though her manipulations of these two boys (who never quite grown up to be adults) are complete, you still find her interesting and not so easy to dismiss outright. Her agenda is one of self-advancement and as more facts drip from the faucet you realise that she holds all of the power over these two more than willing dupes.

The sport of tennis is presented in an almost stomach-turning way as the camera is constantly in motion and supplemented by computer graphics that keep the plane of perspective ever elusive. It also successfully masks the fact that they can’t actually play world-class tennis. The film score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is forceful in the extreme. This highly stylised take on Tennis with its throbbing soundtrack gives teen angst a path to extend into young adulthood and provides another successful route for Zendaya to do her thing.
Rob Hudson