Culture / Film

Our thoughts while watching ‘Challengers’

Our thoughts while watching 'Challengers'

On Tuesday March 26th, the RUSSH team were invited to the Sydney premiere of Challengers, the first stop for the film's press tour. And just like Zendaya's ever-iconic song Replay, my god, we can't stop thinking about this movie.

Without giving too much away, the cast and crew for this moving is outstanding, overall executing – yes I will be calling it now – one of the best movies to be released in 2024. This became more prevalent as we caught up with Josh O'Connor, who plays Patrick in the film, on the red carpet. Speaking to him about how he could unlock the confident yet turbulent nature in Patrick, he was quick to assure us with a gentle smile on his face and a laugh that he is not like Patrick, claiming "thats not me". O'Connor did lament that the role was a bit challenging, but how that's the "treat in acting". An English rose with a presence warmer than the Australian sun, far from his character, except perhaps his charm, pulling one of his best performances in his career. And just like the characters in the movie, the cast and crew pulled the performance of an lifetime.



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What's the film about?

Directed by Luca Guadagnino, who created Bones and All and Call Me By Your Name, you already know Challengers is going to be good. Without spoiling too much, Zendaya's character, Tashi, is a tennis prodigy-turned-coach that finds herself as a love interest between two friends – both of whom are also tennis players. Through the movie, the past and present of their three lives collide, and tensions are high throughout as Art and Patrick are fighting for her love, while she's fighting for her career.



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It's an all-star cast

Zendaya plays tenacious, career-driven Tashi, whose life revolves around the court, and has always been the breadwinner of her family. Art and Patrick, played by Mike Faist and Josh O'Connor are best friends that both happen to fall in love with the same girl. Where Art is more reserved and submissive, Patrick is the opposite, being confident but with a bit of inner turmoil. All three actors play characters that we as an audience have never seen them play before; they're ruthless, charming, hot, and scandalous. By the end of the movie you will be asking "Do I want Tashi, or do I want to be Tashi?'.



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Are you Team Mike or Team Josh?

Can I not be Zendaya and have both please???


Prepare for a wave of tennis-inspired fashion

Thanks to Jonathan Anderson and his brilliant wit and creativity, he not only heightens and brings a view to who each character is, but creates fascination and excitement in each scene, through the dynamic of tennis wardrobing and characters. Throughout the movie scenes jump back from the past to the present, aiding this difference is the costume designs, visually conveying each state the character, narrating through fashion. Anderson's intelligence and creativity truly shines in this movie as he portrays the true nature and depth to each character costumes spot on.

It was clear that Tashi's looks revolved around a presentation attire, that verbalised her obsession and idea of winning. As her character develops to be more of a seducer, the hints lie in her costume. O'Connor's character Patrick is quite the instigator, and coming from a wealthy background, Anderson stated he used the style file of JFK Jr as Patricks costume muse.

Charming and effortless. With Mike Faist's character, there's a sense of entrapment, depicted through his clean style and sponsored gear, that is quite allusive to his relationship dynamic with Tashi too.

Not only will Challengers make you want to pick up a racket and head to the courts, but to serve on them too.


The score was also a Grand Slam

Techno and electronic music soundtracked the film perfectly, complimenting Guadagnino's elegant and sensual cinematography. As the audience, it often felt as if we were the tennis ball in the middle of the drama. Its sharp and romantic score really emphasised every high and low moment of Challengers. 


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