Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Foxcatcher (Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum)



Multiple Academy Award nominee Foxcatcher is dark and haunting and worth every drawn out moment of the two-hour docudrama.   Foxcatcher is based on the true story of the tragic relationship between Olympic wrestling gold medalists Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and chemical-company heir John Du Pont (Steve Carell).  Full 1996 TIME Article "Blood on the Mat" Here.  Du Pont wants to sponsor and coach the Olympic wrestling team for USA and he wants the best wrestlers in the world to help him do that, but a toxic mix of obsession, jealousy and pride turns this venture into hell.

Reminiscent of Sling Blade (Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black) in its dark simplicity, the story largely follows Mark Schultz and Du Pont as they develop an unlikely friendship as two lonely misfits - one of them mentally disturbed, the other emotionally.  Tatum is fantastic in his role as Mark Schultz.  He was vulnerable and light years from what I have ever seen him accomplish on screen.  What I took away from his portrayal of this Olympian was his profound loneliness. Although Mark Schultz looked strong, I could think only about protecting him.  As does his brother, David Schultz, who is played by Ruffalo with a light touch and a big heart.

I did not fully appreciate Steve Carell's talent until seeing this film.  Carell was amazing! If you are a fan of his, watch this.  You'll know his dedication to his craft is legit whether in comedy or drama. (that's all that needs be said)

The story moves slowly and gets progressively darker.  I truly do not remember any moments of levity, because even the "fun times" portrayed were indicative of the emotional harm being inflicted on these men who came to train and coach at Foxcatcher Farm.  Watching this was like watching a giant pin slowly move toward a giant balloon......... POP!

 Foxcatcher is creepy, but one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. Some may categorize this movie as a sports film.  I see it more as a sports-related docudrama with haunting images and impeccable sound (even the silence).  Wrestling is not the focus here.  These brothers could have been boxers, a singing duo or dancers.  What they did mattered little compared to what they represented for Du Pont in this film, which was winning.  Sadly, in the end, everyone lost.

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