U.S. Olympic wrestling champions and brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz join "Team Foxcatcher", led by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont, as they train for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, but John's self-destructive behavior threatens to consume them all.
Based on true events, Foxcatcher tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. When Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics at his new state-of-the-art training facility, Schultz jumps at the opportunity, hoping to focus on his training and finally step out of the poverty striken situation Olympic caliber athletes like he and his revered brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo). Driven by hidden needs, du Pont sees backing Schultz's bid for Gold and the chance to "coach" a world-class wrestling team as an opportunity to gain the elusive respect of his peers and, more importantly, his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave). Trapped in du Pont's majestic but suffocating world, Mark comes to see his benefactor as an ...Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Although Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are over thirteen years apart in age, the real Dave and Mark were only sixteen months and twenty days apart in age. See more »
When John du Pont enters the darkened gym there's a ceiling tile lifted/out of place. After the camera returns from a cut to him, back to the gym, the ceiling tile is in place. See more »
[Mark gives a speech to a school of young students]
Hello. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk to you today. My name is Mark Schultz. I wanna talk about America, and I wanna tell you why I wrestle.
[Mark holds up his Olympic gold metal to the kids]
This is an Olympic gold metal. I won this three years ago at the 23rd Olympic games in Los Angeles, California. This is more than just some piece of metal. It's about what the metal represents. The virtues it requires to attain...
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Haunts with Uneasy Themes and a Deliberate Reveal of Information
BY RYAN C. SHOWERS
Hearing reactions from people who saw "Foxcatcher" made me instill a mindset in myself to defend against the "slow pacing". (Feeling the discomfort from a long running-time is a movie pet peeve of mine.) However, my experience of "Foxcatcher" was largely different from most everyone else who has discussed the film. I did not want to take my eyes off the screen. The direction from Bennett Miller felt in tune with the story and the characters in a mellow way. He built scenes at a gradual pace, but each scene has a path and reach a distinctive point of impact. Because "Foxcatcher" is so muted, it haunts with the uneasy themes being explored in the screenplay and a deliberate reveal of information in the directing.
The ominous representations of the real-life people by the actors contribute substantially to the outcome of "Foxcatcher". Steve Carell amazed me in his portrayal of John du Pont. It's not the most expressive work of an actor this year, but it's certainly one of the most potent. The comedic actor is transformative and in more ways than the physical ones prompted by the make-up prosthetics, which visibly add to the creation of the mysterious figure. Carell's eyes cut deep into the viewer and sting like a sharp razor blade impaling the warmth of your flesh.
"Foxcatcher" begins as Mark Shultz's story and continues into the film's second act led by Channing Tatum's irate temperament. But the closer the end of the film nears, du Pont begins to consume the story. Carell's performance feels extraordinarily subtle as your start the film, but as "Foxcatcher" endangers the viewer deeper into du Pont's mind, the severity of Carell's performance begins permeate throughout the picture. There's an eerie presence he creates, a torment that does not internally leave you after watching it. (Not to suggest that du Pont is evil, as understood in Miller's direction, there's an nuance of tragedy that looms over the man that makes his story such a grave one to experience.)
Mark Ruffalo's Dave Schultz becomes a driving figure in the last act, along with Carell, as Tatum's importance begins to lessen. The simple, small-town guy with a beacon of knowledge realized by Ruffalo is impressive. Tatum also gives his most accomplished performance to date.
Bennett Miller steps back tonally to his work in somber "Capote" after making the lighter (and forgettable) "Moneyball" in 2011. "Foxcatcher" is in the same quality league as "Capote", but in film he has a peculiar manner of creating the action of the plot. Some may say "Foxatcher" contains too few and far between events in the narrative, but I think Miller creates a drama palpable in the air of every scene, and we, the audience, are parked in a burning tension for two hours.
"Foxcatcher" is a superb film that, as it sits in your mind, grows from the seeds Miller plants in your head as you watch his detailed recounting of events on the du Pont estate. It will disturb you with its bleak vegetation and seduce your flames of darkness.
* * * 1/2 / * * * *
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