The Challenge Reviews

February 5, 2020
The paucity of dialogue and strict reliance on leisurely visuals might necessitate some caffeine before a screening. The final competition, though, is a visceral portrayal of a rarely seen experience.
March 15, 2019
The film is meditative rather than informative; it is an aesthetic rather than explicitly critical exercise.
December 5, 2018
For its first half-hour, The Challenge gets by on visual style alone, and Ancarani is obviously extremely talented. But after that, it begins to feel increasingly shallow.
December 5, 2018
The Challenge follows the mind-boggling excesses of Arab aristocracy with the same biting exactitude we've come to expect from Ancarani.
June 18, 2018
It's best if viewed on the big screen, where it dazzles.
December 14, 2017
... features some of the most stunning falcon-cam shots ever captured.
December 7, 2017
The movie eschews narration and captions, and instead just strings together one stunning scene after another of inconceivably wealthy oil men indulging their passions.
November 7, 2017
Composed over three years, The Challenge is elegantly distilled, each image deliberately framed, the rhythm alternating between meditative tranquility and flurried agitation.
September 16, 2017
... provides an immersive and fascinating look at a subculture of modern excesses clashing with cultural and spiritual traditions.
September 7, 2017
It is detached almost to the point of abstraction.
September 7, 2017
Thanks to an opaque narrative and slow pacing, The Challenge will test your own endurance, but a cult following seems likely.
September 5, 2017
It's hard to say whether this is an unusually sheened documentary, an art piece that uses aspects of the real and transforms them radically, or a highly formal visual poem. But it's a strange and beautiful thing: to use that word again, fabulous indeed.
September 5, 2017
The luxury of the content and form is intentionally overwhelming, and nearly every frame contains a perfect juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern, or of nature and technology.
September 5, 2017
At first glance the film makes a knockout impression, at once showy and enigmatic. But as it proceeds, dishing up more idiosyncratic imagery but absolutely no insight, the spell may begin to pall for many viewers.
September 5, 2017
The Challenge lives up to its title in more ways than one.
September 5, 2017
There's an exquisite visual luxury at play in this loose trip across the Arabian gulf to a falconry competition in Qatar.
September 2, 2017
Contemporary tropes of material luxury and ancient rituals coexist throughout Yuri Ancarani's documentary.