Sunday, February 8, 2015

Foxcatcher

Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave
Director: Bennett Miller
Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hours, 9 minutes

I was so intrigued by this tragic, true story. Not to mention Steve Carell in a role like I had never seen him; my darling Ruffalo as a kind and nurturing soul; and easy on the eyes Tatum (need I say more?), but unfortunately, I was over this film before it even started. The first 10 minutes have very little dialogue. In fact, the entire movie doesn't have enough dialogue. If you know anything about this story (or read Mark Schultz's memoir), you know how it ends before it begins. There wasn't enough driving plot progression for me to really care what happened along the way.
Steve Carell and John du Pont
Photo courtesy Yahoo
Tatum and Ruffalo play brothers Mark and David Schultz, who are Olympic Gold Medal-winning wrestlers. The former, a disturbed soul, the latter, his primary caretaker since they were young. Ruffalo and Tatum's chemistry is genuine, particularly the hotel scene where Mark binges 12 pounds worth of food and cries in David's arms. It's chilling. The most chilling of all however, is Carell's portrayal of John du Pont, of one of America's wealthiest families. He is slimy, off, not all there. After offering to house and train Mark at his Foxcatcher estate, David cleverly wonders "yeah, but what's in it for him?" I was under the impression that living with du Pont ultimately drove Mark to be so tormented, when in fact there were several problems there to begin with - living with him just encouraged them.

Contrary to what he has told Mark, we soon come to realize that du Pont is not a wrestling coach. He in fact knows very little about the sport. It's as if the wrestling team he has taken under his wing are his friends, companions, even family. It's sad really, when he admits that his wealthy mother paid other kids to hang out with him when he was young.

Carell and Ruffalo are getting all the glory for this film, and rightfully so, but this was the most heartfelt and unforced I've ever seen Tatum. Blink and you'll miss Vanessa Redgrave, look twice and you'll barely catch a glimpse of Sienna Miller (her second supporting wife role this season.) The cinematography choices didn't advance the plot, they just slowed it down and made me twiddle my thumbs. If the idea of this film intrigues you like it did me, just save it for a rental. It was fine. It just went on for too long.


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