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‘Challengers’ earns that title by never really getting to the point

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Every week, Kristopher Pollard from Milwaukee Film and Radio Milwaukee’s Dori Zori talk about movies — because that’s what you do when you’re Cinebuds.

In tennis, love means nothing. In Challengers, it’s … well, not everything. But it’s certainly more than nothing in this Zendaya-starring film that left Dori and Kpolly with complicated feelings they volley back and forth in this episode.

Those feelings match the overall vibes of the film, which doesn’t give you too much in a straightforward manner. Time jumps around, the affection the characters have for each other jumps around, and — as our Cinebuds point out — the overall quality of the movie jumps around as well.

If you’ve seen any promotional materials from Challengers, you’re probably under the impression this is a steamy sort of flick. But, again, it’s not as simple as that. This is a film about power and tragedy and life throwing you the unexpected, leaving you to figure out what to do with it. Director Luca Guadagnino has leaned toward the opaque in some of his previous efforts — 2018’s remake of Suspiria among them — and that continues here in sometimes-baffling fashion.

It’s probably better that we just let Dori and Kpolly explain it in the full episode, which at one point compares this dramatic sports romance with … Cocaine Bear. Baffling indeed. Listen using the player at the top of the page or your podcast platform of choice.