“Foxcatcher” isn’t the masterpiece we were promised by the amazing hype surrounding it, nor is it worthy of all of its awards attention, especially considering other films which were left out in favor of it..ahem..Damien Chazelle..ahem..Jake Gyllenhaal, yet in no way is this a bad movie.
Based on true events, Foxcather is directly written to screen by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye. Mark Schultz (Chaning Tatum) is an American wrestler who had won an Olympic Gold at LA 1984 yet he doesn’t earn much. We see that is house is small and simple. Mark is mentored and trained by his older brother David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) who has been taking care of him since his childhood after their parents split up. David also was a gold medalist at 1984 Olympics; he is married and loves his family a lot. Mark on the other hand has a feeling he is living in shadow of his brother. Things take a turn when Mark gets an offer from a billionaire and wrestling enthusiast John E. du Pont (Steve Carell). John seems to have family issues, with his mother who is obsessed more with her horses rather than appreciate his son’s achievement and treating wrestling as low sport. Mark starts training at du Pont’s high facility ‘Foxcather Farm’ moving away from his brother who is unwilling to move his family. The movie then touches how this affects the characters and relations. That’s basically the plot with a strong character development which is sorely missing in movies nowadays.
In “Foxcatcher”, director Bennett Miller goes for a slow-boiling sense of building tension, but he keeps such tight reins on his film that he ends up almost suffocating it. Its clinical restraint works well at the beginning, but as things progress and something rotten begins to emerge from out of the film’s bizarre true-life story, he refuses to change the film’s pace and it begins to drag when it should be moving toward a conclusion.
What keeps “Foxcatcher” alive are undoubtedly the performances by Carrel, Tatum and Ruffalo, Ruffalo being the best in my opinion. There is definitely more than just makeup to the transformations the actors go through, which ultimately results in three layered, complex and engrossing performances. Tatum and Ruffalo are utterly brilliant and Carrel is equally good if not more, but his performance is immensely toned down by the fact that you just don’t have the basic character information or background to get what’s the deal about him. The movie goes to great and successful depths to study John DuPont, but at no f**king point did I have some basic tools to interpret him and it was very frustrating. But anyways, because of these stunning performances, the film has an undeniable charm, for the lack of a better word, to it that manages to keep things going on. Yet I can’t say the movie ever got me emotionally and tension-wise, and even less when it came to giving me something or making a point.
To sum it up, I really do respect this movie and was engrossed by a good part of it, but it was a little disappointing and I wanted to love it, which I ended up not.
Foxcatcher gets a 7.2/10.