Foxcatcher Review (TIFF2014)

Posted 8 years ago by myetvmedia


Bennett Miller delivers a masterpiece in subtlety and performance with his latest film “Foxcatcher (14)”. Based on the disturbing true story of the relationship between Olympic gold medalists Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and John du Pont (Steve Carell); heir to the du Pont fortune. John is a wealthy recluse who is obsessed obsessed with wrestling. He seeks to create an elite camp on his estate; the Foxcatcher Wrestling team. John believes he is doing this not only for himself but his country; yet something brews beneath the surface.

Miller brings us into the world of competitive wrestling. A rugged and respected world of warriors and tradition. The life of a wrestler is gruelling. Weight cuts, constant training, sore muscles, stiff joints and pain. The Schultz brother’s know all of this too well and their bodies exude the effects. Tatum and Ruffalo masterfully deliver both physical and emotional performances that make this world real and their history in the sport authentic. No details are too small from Tatum’s jutted jaw and laboured walk, to Ruffalo’s constantly bent arms from a life time of defending the take down. Both actors have brought their best here.

In an unlikely casting choice, Steve Carell brings his best performance to date in portraying John. His character is deeply disturbed, stoic and clouded in mystery. His obsession with wrestling knows no bounds and his empire all starts with the recruitment of Mark Schultz. Prosthetic makeup has made Carell nearly unrecognizable. His blinks are laboured and his cadence of dialogue is distinct. John is Looking to bring Mark out of his older brother’s shadow. He also lives vicariously through his hand picked wrestler’s on team Foxcatcher. His role as a supposed leader and mentor is complex, there are deep rooted motivations that I will not reveal here.

This film achieves a dramatic tone that is the first of it’s kind this year. Slowly it builds with limited dialogue, confident in the depth of it’s characters. Because this film is a true story it’s even easier to get drawn into it. Rob Simonsen’s music helps set the landscape and perhaps another interesting aspect of the film is the use of it’s silence. The two weave together flawlessly.

Foxcatcher has already received high praise overseas claiming the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival (14) this year. It was also nominated for the Palme d’Or. Tatum, Carrell, Ruffalo and Miller all deserve to be recognized for this artistic wonder. It’s a gripping and unsettling film. I absolutely loved it.

Miller’s other noteworthy work includes: The Cruise (98), Capote (05) and Moneyball (11).

Chris Murphy

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