Foxcatcher

by | Dec 30, 2014 | 0 comments

A Gripping and Dark Psychological Thriller Led by a Great Cast

A film’s most difficult and crucial aspect is it’s ending. If the ending is floppy and lazy then the whole movie’s work will be for nothing; the feeling that the audience leaves with is essential for the success of any film. With Foxcatcher you had an interesting story that oddly begins right in the middle of wrestler Mark Schultz’s life. As the story progressed you wondered: how was director Bennett Miller going to end this in a satisfying way that won’t seem too abrupt as well?

Foxcatcher, based on a true story, is about an American wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) who after achieving glory in the 1984 Olympics is struggling financially. Mark wasn’t satisfied with his glory in ’84 either; he doesn’t feel he has achieved glory since he is living in the shadow of his also-wrestler brother, Dave Schultz (an excellent Mark Ruffalo). As the 1986 World Championships near, Mark is asked to meet the wealthy and patriotic John Du Pont (an unrecognizable Steve Carrell). Du Pont tells Mark that he is building a wrestling team, and he wants Mark to be in it, while secretly is trying to get Dave as well. As the poor and absent-minded Mark submits to Du Pont like an excited puppy, we see how he is used for Du Pont’s own aspirations. Dave is the only person who treats his brother as a fellow human being, and his care and father figure soon grow on us, the audience. Meanwhile we pity Du Pont; he is blinded by his patriotism to a point of insanity.

While the film is heavily filled with wrestling, it is not a sports movie; I perceived it more as a psychological thriller. The audience is constantly seeing how Du Pont eats away at Mark and how Dave suffers for his brother. Ruffalo, Carrell, and Tatum are all spectacular; their performances help us see little details of each character so that by the end of the two hours you could write a biography on the three main characters.

Channing Tatum has been bursting through the Hollywood ranks, and, for some time now, had been screaming for a juicy role. The Jump Street films and even Magic Mike were too small for him. He tried his way with rom-coms for a while (let’s try and forget Dear John and The Vow), but thankfully he has found a perfect role in Mark Schultz. Tatum was forced to mutate his body, face, and voice in order to portray the wrestler. While Tatum was pushed to the breaking point, much like Mark, he still excelled. We can now safely say that he is a world-class actor. Steve Carrell is known to be a veteran comedian, and so a role in this dark drama was a little surprising. However, his project choice wasn’t as surprising as with the way he handled his role. Carrell has just revealed that he has a complete separate set of skills as a dramatic actor. Carrell might finally have found a path into proper critical recognition that most comedians never find. Ruffalo has lived a bit of a renaissance himself these past few years. He managed to cling onto the mainstream franchises with his role as the Hulk in The Avengers and has moved on to earn critical acclaim through his work in indies such as Begin Again. In Foxcatcher Ruffalo’s Dave Schultz doesn’t have as much screen time as others characters, however Ruffalo makes him one of the most omnipresent characters in the film.

The technical aspects are all accurate and measured. The cinematography properly portrayed the dark story with its grayish lens, the sound mixing was minutely analyzed so that each rustling of hair was clearly heard, and Miller’s directing is bold and refreshing. The film is a must-see, but the dark psychological intensity is a little too much to allow for a second viewing. Let me put it this way: you won’t be leaving the theatre smiling. 

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 84% 84%

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Make-Up

What’s the most Unsettling Film You’ve Watched? Let me know in the comments section.

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