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Wrestling With A Demon
jmoney-214 November 2014
The saga of John du Pont is one of the more bizarre and tragic stories from the mid-1990s. In Bennett Miller's dark and ominous Foxcatcher, the episode is framed as a true-life Faustian Tale. But the story is almost secondary to three outstanding dramatic performances -- two of which are given by men who are better known for their work in other genres.

Channing Tatum stars as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz. When we first meet him, he's already reached elite status by winning a gold medal. But the achievement hasn't allowed him to escape the shadow of his older brother, Dave, also a gold medalist. The younger Schultz wants more. He wants to be the best. His past prize also doesn't pay the bills. After training sessions, he's eating ramen noodles. All that changes, however, with a phone call from du Pont (Steve Carell) who offers to pay him and set him up in a first-class training facility on his Pennsylvania estate.

Like Schultz, the multi-millionaire du Pont is a man in a seemingly enviable position who nevertheless wants something greater. He has family issues of his own, as he strives to please his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave). He hopes he can make her proud by leading a team of wrestlers to gold in Seoul in 1988. But du Pont doesn't just want to be a benefactor. Even though he's little more than an extremely wealthy fan, with only a rudimentary knowledge of the sport, he wants to be seen as a coach and mentor to his wrestlers. And so, when Dave arrives to guide his brother, jealousy develops. Dave is everything du Pont wishes he could be, but isn't. He's a great teacher, a great leader. This leads to tension that slowly builds toward the story's shocking climax as du Pont's demons emerge.

As du Pont, Carell is almost unrecognizable beneath make-up and prosthetics. It's a quietly disturbing performance that will definitely have audiences and critics seeing the comic talent in a new light. Action/comedy star Tatum also has a breakthrough turn as the intense and driven young Schultz who grows increasingly uncomfortable under du Pont's subjugation. As a past Academy Award nominee, Mark Ruffalo's exceptional portrayal of the older Schultz comes as less of a surprise. But that doesn't make it any less notable or transformative. The normally wiry Ruffalo packed on a lot of muscle to play Dave Schultz. Here, he looks less like his Bruce Banner alter ego, and more like the Hulk himself. All three performances are a study in the art of subtly. This is a movie that derives drama from silent moments. In many key scenes, it's the words that aren't said that speak volumes.

Foxcatcher features themes of control and manipulation, and wrestling functions as an apt metaphor. It's that most primal of sports – one in which you literally bend another person to your will. Ultimately though, the movie is a story about two people who reach for greatness, only to experience a great fall. And it's also the tale of a great man caught in the middle. The saddest part is that it actually happened.
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Foxcatcher: A Slow Burn to an Explosive Climax.
PostingandToasting26 December 2014
Foxcatcher is a movie for those who value patience as a virtue. There is not a lot of dialogue and not even a lot of wrestling (which is bold for a movie centered around Olympic wrestlers) but rarely have I seen a film that had a constant buildup of tension throughout. One phrase that you will see a lot when reading about this film is that it is a "slow burn" which is accurate. It makes you uncomfortable and anxious to the point of frustration because you are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The story centers around Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) an anti-social, brooding athlete who seems to be constantly living in his older brother David's (Mark Ruffalo) shadow. David and Mark have both won gold medals at the 1984 Olympics but more people are drawn to David because he is warm, charismatic, and open...everything that Mark is not. We watch Mark as he seems to go through life with a chip on his soldier, trying to forge his own path without the help of his brother. Mark receives a call from a representative of a John Du Pont (Steve Carell) who wishes Mark to visit him on his Foxcatcher farm and propose the idea of him and the entire USA wrestling team to make Foxcatcher their official training facility with Du Pont bankrolling the entire operation. From there, we watch an initial positive relationship sour as the we learn more about Du Pont and his intentions.

The cast is lights out here. Tatum gives the performance of his career in a dark turn as Mark and Ruffalo might score an Oscar nomination for being the one ray of light as his older brother David, who only has the best intentions for Mark and his future. It is Carell though, who steals the show. You always read about how comedians, whom Carell is more popularly known as, all have a "dark side" in them which is where they get there comedy from that allows them to make shockingly effective transition into drama (think Jim Carrey in "Truman Show" and Robin Williams in "Insomnia") and he will go down as another prime example of that here. Du Pont is a man of privilege who, like Mark, is trying to find a way to make his mark on the world and seek the approval of others. He is socially awkward, maybe even a coward and uses his money and family "dynasty" as its referred to in the film, to give him a sense of entitlement to gain respect from others.

From the point they meet we wonder why Mark would fall into a relationship with Du Pont but we see they do share similarities in terms of their personalities and both feeling the need to prove themselves. So it's no surprise to see the relationship eventually sour because in the fight to become the more relevant one, Du Pont will win due to his already established social status and wealth. Du Pont is always trying to seek the approval of his mother (Vanessa Redgrave), who sees wrestling as a "low sport", and Du Pont tries to create this deluded fantasy of what he is trying to do with this wrestling team to please his mother. Du Pont calls himself a "coach" of the wrestling team, when it seems he knows nothing about the sport, he claims his athletes see him as a mentor and a father figure when in reality, he is just the guy signing their checks. The tension comes to a head once David gets involved and begins to see Du Pont for what he really is and the climax catches you buy surprise and leaves you devastated. .

Director Bennett Miller has only made three films (Capote and Moneyball the other two) but it's safe to say he is three for three with this being his most ambitious work yet. Foxcatcher is the type of film that has failed in the past due to its' modest pace but the performances keep you engaged just enough to be blown away in the end.
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A chilling, quiet psychological drama about men striving for greatness
Movie_Muse_Reviews27 November 2014
"Foxcatcher" is anything but a wrestling drama. Although based on the true story of Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz and his brief years of training under multi-millionaire John du Pont, "Foxcatcher" expands well beyond the wrestling ring into the minds of two men longing to find greatness.

So those expecting anything close to director Bennett Miller's last film, "Moneyball," should be forewarned. This is not a sports movie, but a slow-burning character study (like Miller's first acclaimed film, "Capote") in which the wrestling serves as the visual, physical expression of the psychological struggle between the characters.

When we first meet Mark, played by Channing Tatum, whose versatility continues to amaze, it's 1987 and he is living in the faded glory of his 1984 gold medal. Despite his success, he is living a rather lonely life and itching to accomplish more; his brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo), also won gold and Dave feels that leaves him with something to prove. So when John du Pont (Steve Carell) contacts him about paying him to come train at his top-notch facility on his family's estate, Foxcatcher Farm, he sees his opportunity.

Mark and du Pont's philosophies about striving to be the best align, and the two form a close, almost father-and-son bond, though more so because they both feel pressure to live up to others' expectations. Du Pont, in particular, wants to prove himself to his mother (Vanessa Redgrave), who breeds world class horses and finds wrestling barbaric. John's desperation, bottomless checkbook and unresolved family issues make for a dangerous combination, and his relationship with Mark slowly begins to change for the worse. Further complicating the matter is Dave, the only man capable of saving Mark from his demanding expectations of himself and whose coaching expertise intimidates du Pont.

The often unspoken psychological warfare between the three (and, perhaps most importantly, du Pont and his mother) is the driving force of the story more than anything that actually happens on screen. Mark's ups and downs as he competes at the '87 World Championships and '88 Olympic trials are symptomatic of his mental state and the state of his relationship with the other men. As such, "Foxcatcher" is a long, at times brooding film that can drag in spite of the brilliant character development and internal drama.

E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman's script is quiet and doesn't have a lot of big juicy moments for its actors to lean on, so the fact that Carell is totally haunting and captivating in this role says a lot. Du Pont is an incredibly complex character whose back story is mostly implied so as to keep him as unpredictable as possible. Even with all the makeup on, Carell gives the epitome of an understated performance, something you would never dream possible from a guy who has made a career out of big acting and abrasive characters. Undoubtedly some credit goes to Miller, who has churned out acting nominations and wins for his previous casts, and gets Carell and Tatum to pause and linger at all the right moments.

With those two in transforming roles, it's easy to overlook Ruffalo (who always seems to get overlooked). Dave is the comparison point for both these men. He's a family man who is smart, has accomplished a lot and knows what it truly means to work hard. Ruffalo brings his trademark authenticity to his part as the "good guy" and does it so well.

Even when it's too quiet and languishes, "Foxcatcher" is a fine piece of cinema and Miller has established himself as a true auteur. It certainly does not satisfy in the mainstream sense, but its purposeful use of imagery, total avoidance of melodrama and magnifying glass on the human condition make it an undeniably sharp and intelligent art film to be sure.

~Steven C Thanks for reading! Visit Movie Muse Reviews for more
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Haunts with Uneasy Themes and a Deliberate Reveal of Information
RyanCShowers30 December 2014

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.

Grade: A-

* * * 1/2 / * * * *
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Bennett Miller's latest is a building block of passion and tension with a righteous performance from Steve Carell...
ClaytonDavis11 October 2014
A film that takes its time presenting its case, Bennett Miller's wickedly brutal "Foxcatcher" entices audiences to learn more about the questions around us, and where they could lead. Seated firmly in the center are a trio of dazzling performances from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo, all of which make a compelling case for their career best works.

Written by Oscar-nominee Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, "Foxcatcher" tells the story of Mark Schultz (Tatum), an Olympic wrestler who befriends billionaire John Du Pont (Carell) in the mid-1980's. Along with his brother Dave (Ruffalo) and his wife Nancy (Sienna Miller), that new relationship leads to unforeseen consequences.

At the core of this morality tale is Bennett Miller, the Oscar- nominated director of "Capote" and "Moneyball." He allows"Foxcatcher" to study its subjects, and give the audience an in-depth understanding of all the motives involved. With the help of Cinematographer Greig Fraser, and composer Rob Simonsen, the movie's melancholy atmosphere is truly compelling. Miller's brilliance isn't in things he chooses to show, but in the things he chooses not to. He draws out scenes that offer so much to the narrative. There's still so much left on the table that we do not know, which in itself, is perfectly acceptable. Life never gives us all the answers we seek. Miller, Futterman, and Frye understand this. Material like this calls to be made into a film. I'm so glad that these three answered the call.

What Steve Carell achieves as John DuPont is not just a performance by a full embodiment. With strength and precision, he understands DuPont, a man with an extreme outlook on reality. Carell doesn't just ask us to sympathize with John, between his awkward behavior and his constant yearning to impress his family's legacy, he demands our understanding. If I didn't already know about the film for the past two years, I wouldn't have recognized him. His performance is completely focused and profound. Looking at the way he carries himself through the film, you are witnessing one of the purest creations of a character this year. When he's not on-screen, you're secretly wishing he was.

When it comes to Channing Tatum, I have to admit that I never FULLY understood the appeal. Discovered the young ferocious actor in Dito Montiel's "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" nearly a decade ago, and afterwards was only mildly entertained by his presence in films like "21 Jump Street" and "Side Effects." What he does in Miller's film is something beyond anything I could have ever thought he could do. Tatum doesn't just do an imitation, he channels the inner workings of a man desperate for more. His peculiarities are richly on display as he yearns for a father figure outside of the shadow of his more successful brother. He embraces the odd DuPont, against all logical instincts, but you can see exactly why he would feel so compelled to do so.

Mark Ruffalo gives Dave the ticks and beats of an original creation. Picking at his beard (something I know all too well), constantly engaging in team leadership, and hugging his younger brother whose more of a son than anything. Ruffalo mounts himself on the perch of a loving brother just trying to create success for himself and his family. This is another solid outing for him.

Co-star Vanessa Redgrave, as John's fragile mother, is marvelous in her short scenes while Sienna Miller adds a needed dynamic to understanding both Mark and Dave. The two women both offer compassion and balance.

"Foxcatcher" is terrifying, disturbing, and utterly engaging. A slowly unraveled piece that is risky but pays off immensely. It's cautious yet strictly well-defined as a character study. Like all great films with great performances, its element of truth is plainly apparent. On the gray-skied farm, we will get to know three interesting men, some of which, we'll never truly understand.
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A harrowing and disturbing character study with excellent performances
trublu2154 November 2014
Foxcatcher tells the fateful story of John Du Pont and the Olympic winning Schultz brothers. Directed by Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher taps into the psychology behind Du Pont, examining his psyche in the most disturbing of fashions. Steve Carrel delivers a performance that many will find hard to swallow. He is dry, he is awkward, and he is completely insane. To keep it simple, Steve Carrel is absolutely terrific and truly shows his range as an actor. It is an amazing performance that is bound for Oscar glory. The other half to Carrel's Du Pont is Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz. Tatum completely drowns into his character, leading him to turn in a vicious, unapologetic performance that is so perfectly executed that you will soon forget that this is Channing Tatum. When he is on screen, he is Mark Schultz. It is the best performance that Tatum has given in his career and stands to grab a possible Best Suppoting Actor nod at this year's Oscars. The voice of reason for both Mark and Du Pont lies in Dave Schultz, played brilliantly by Mark Ruffalo. Dave serves as this mediator in between Mark and Du Pont especially when their relationship starts becoming more and more intense and violent. The rest of the cast featuring Vannessa Redgrave and Anthony Michael Hall also turn in very sound and great performances as well. As far as acting is concerned, Foxcatcher is a hard film to beat. Every actor is on top of their game here and it really shows how good of a director Bennet Miller is. He takes a seemingly dry script and turns it into an emotional roller-coaster by way of his actors. One scene in particular haunted me involving a simple glare from Tatum's Mark Schultz as he peddles faster and harder upon seeing Du Pont. That scene on paper isn't that interesting but with Miller's uncanny ability to make even the simplest scenes intricate and layered, it works and remains one of the more memorable scenes from the film. The other highlight from this film has to be the cinematography. Everything is filmed with a slight tint of dread and gray, it creates the mood immediately and balances the story perfectly. Overall, Foxcatcher is a great character study featuring top notch performances that push this film into the top ten of the year easily.
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Fox hunting is a bloody sport and so is wrestling
fs-87-94656311 November 2014
Fox hunting is a bloody sport and in the case of Foxcatcher, so is wrestling. You can hear the thud and almost feel the pain as heavily muscled male bodies pound each other. It's almost like a ritual. John DuPont, billionaire and unbalanced eccentric, offers a talented young wrestler the kind of sponsorship that one can only dream of. Why then does Mark Schultz, ensconced in a luxurious guest house with a state-of-the-art training facility, feel so uneasy? Mr. DuPont, played by Steve Carell as you've never seen him before, has some disquieting qualities. I can't avoid thinking that if the characters in this movie, and men in general, had been more articulate about their feelings, a tragedy could have been avoided, but that is irrelevant. The ending of this movie, based on a true story, was in the headlines some years back. If you don't remember what happened, I won't spoil it for you.
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A different look at wrestling, in a good way!
LouisGur9 November 2014
My first night at the Stockholm Film Festival turned out really great thanks to Foxcatcher. A movie I didn't expect much from, but it was in fact one of the best movies of 2014. Foxcatcher is a movie that doesn't have that much action and will surely disappoint those who loves wrestling and wants to see fights. This is not a movie about the good side of the sport, it's about the bad one we don't get to see when Hulk Mania and The Rock performs nowadays.

The film is based upon a true story. Mark Schultz is an Olympic wrestler. His relationship with his sponsor, John du Pont and his older brother leads to very unlikely circumstances between both. John du Pont turns out to be a bit different than the man he first seemed like.

What I first wondered when I read about the film was, "how could they pick Channing Tatum for such a dramatic role? Isn't he that guy who just shows off his abs so the girls can look at something?" Well, in this movie Channing was someone completely different. He is superb as Mark Schultz, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing him after seeing this film. And this is partly what makes the film very watchable and good. Steve Carell (who usually stars in sex comedies) also did an amazing job as John du Pont. I could barely recognize him at first, and forgot that it was him 10 minutes after he first appeared on the screen. In the end, I also forgot what he looks like in real life. Great job on the make up there!

The good performances is definitely what I enjoyed the most. I'm not into wrestling, and Foxcatcher didn't really make me interested. It's a very deterrent example of how some Olympic athletes are trained and treated when they're not on TV. The movie will be out in theaters later this month, and I suggest you to go watch it. If you're not a fan of wrestling, that's even better. I don't like the sport but loved this movie.

However, pick your theater carefully. Sadly, some people in front of me waited to see Channing Tatum naked during the beginning. They were just annoying, but quiet when they realized that they weren't watching a teen comedy. Which was, around thirty minutes into the film. So I didn't really mind! The movie is a bit over two hours long...
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A Terrific Decent R Rated Movie Without Sex Or Bad Language.
sweetjudy12 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Foxcatcher is a 2014 American biographical drama film, directed by Bennett Miller, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. The screenplay was written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman. It competed for the Palme d'Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where Miller won the Best Director Award.

The story of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz and paranoid- schizophrenic millionaire coach John du Pont, who murdered Schultz's brother, Olympic Champion Dave Schultz in 1996.

The film has received acclaim from critics, with many praising the performances of Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 'Certified Fresh' rating of 91%, based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A chilling true crime drama, Foxcatcher offers Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum a chance to shine - and all three rise to the challenge". Metacritic gives the film a score of 91 out of 100, based on 11 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Justin Chang of Variety praised the film, writing: "Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum give superb performances in Bennett Miller's powerfully disturbing true-crime saga." Eric Kohn of Indiewire also reacted positively to the film, with most of his praise going towards Carell and Tatum's performances. Donald Clarke of The Irish Times praised Bennett Miller's direction, saying that "he (Miller) hits his stride with a stunning portrayal of psychopathy and moral decadence in the unlikely environment of Olympic wrestling." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter praised Carell's performance calling it "career changing". On the other hand, Budd Wilkins of Slant Magazine gave the film a negative review and said that the film "offers us next to nothing of utility or complexity about du Pont's pathology.

I'm not surprised this terrific decent movie has won 2 International Awards.

See It With Your Kids!.There aren't any bad words or sex, just some violence!.
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A meticulously crafted if dry study of the American dream.
Sergeant_Tibbs26 October 2014
It's been a long wait. After a year and a half of hype, Foxcatcher is finally among us. This isn't really the type of film that earns such excitement. It's a cold, hard, slow burn, but one that's meticulously crafted. It's a film easier to appreciate than to enjoy. It tells the true story of the relationship between Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, played by Channing Tatum, his brother and also gold medalist David, played by Mark Ruffalo, and a wealthy entrepreneur investing in their future to become World Champions, Jan Du Pont, played by Steve Carell. For a story of such tragedy and exposure to the world at large, it's surprising that we're only hearing of it now, but the film's weak spots do make it clear why director Bennett Miller needed an extra year to work on it, having been initially anticipated as a 2013 release. It's clear from the style of Capote and Moneyball that Miller is concerned with capturing raw authenticity with a voyeuristic (and grimly saturated) eye on the characters. It gives Tatum and Carell some of the best artistic environments of their careers for them to play around in. Tatum in particular is impressive unlike what we've seen him in before. In his previous films he's seemed so disengaged but here he has tunnel vision focus, constantly fighting imaginary foes. We're often given shots of him just staring out windows, but he makes them rich with subtext, with both his fulfillment of his ambitions and tedium of his stripped down life. It's a physical role with great sensitivity, showing his selfishness and self-deprecating side. Although there's a strong bond between the brothers especially with their sport, Ruffalo is the antithesis of Tatum. Where Tatum still seems to struggle when engaging with people, however appropriate for the character, it all comes natural for Ruffalo. It's a very subdued but loose performance. Internalizing a lot of different emotions, frustrations and conflicts that Tatum and Carell have but with a whole heap of charm. He's comfortable in his own skin compared to them. I missed him when he wasn't on screen, but it's unfortunate that during his portion of the film in the last third, events become too jumbled. Especially in its final twenty minutes, which does unfortunately drag the film down for me that it doesn't land on two feet. It does find key moments bubbling under its psychological tension, and you often have to be very patient for them to reveal themselves. Carell however was a slight disappointment. The most hyped up aspect of the film since we first got excited 18 months ago, it's certainly transformative but the character is too sparse and distant. Granted, this is part of Du Pont, he's a man who doesn't make have a presence when he walks into a room so he has to compensate with money and weapons. He's good, but suffers due to this nature. His character blossoms under Miller's direction and the makeup (his nose looking like the 'eagle' he wants himself nicknamed after), but his strength in his prolonged sinister stares. The film has some very interesting themes to say with him about the American dream and patriotism, ironic as his last name is evidently foreign. It's quietly powerful. Carell is best as a fascinating contradictory poetic figure, rather than a performance. It's a great film thanks to Miller's methodical approach in setting up the triangle of characters, and the anguish of their motivations. It is cripplingly restrained in every facet, which is good to express the repression that the characters go through; the joylessness of Mark's success, how David's family weigh him down, the way people underestimate Du Pont, and then the ultimate dissatisfaction of the glory they chase. There's a lot to delight from its allegories and the way the relationships develop. However, the way it puts the viewer at an unsettling distance and how dry and somber it is hints that it might not do too well at winning awards, though certainly show up on ballots. I'm sensing that we may find a Carell snub in a stacked category, but Ruffalo is assured. Miller may have to fight for that 5th spot in Director but I wouldn't be surprised to see him there. I'm not eager to watch Foxcatcher again so soon but it's a film that burrows deeply in fraught places. 8/10
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Did the positive reviewers watch the same movie I did?
mmletzko7 March 2015
I seriously don't understand the positive reviews for this movie. I created an IMDb account JUST to write this review - I feel that strongly about it.

It doesn't matter how well an actor portrays a real person - a bad movie is a bad movie. The actors are not at fault.

I tried so hard to have some kind of emotional response throughout the whole film, but it was so dry, so slow-paced, and so long that by the time it was over I was truly upset that I just spent more than 2 hours watching it.

This would have been more interesting as a simple documentary. It SHOULD NOT have been made a major motion picture - not this one anyway. It's possible it could have been made into an interesting movie, but this was NOT it.

I really appreciate good dialog - meaning I don't need a comedy or action, or special effects to entertain me. But the dialog in this was just terrible, even if it was accurate.

Pure torture...
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What the Fox say? "Catch another movie - avoid this one"
philipversfeld9 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Foxcatcher... a limp train wreck of a film, driven only by the tragedy of the true story on which it's based, and no doubt geared to be hot at the Oscars thanks to huge departures from typecasting for both Carrell & Tatum.

"Accuracy of events and characterizations be damned - we're making an art movie here!"

Let's summarize, shall we? Forrest Gump and his bearded brother, Quasimodo, both won wrestling gold in the 84 Olympics. Their relationship is somewhat strained, as Forrest feels second best. 1987, we see Forrest poor and down on his luck, when mentally disturbed narcissist, billionaire & self-appointed ace wrestling coach, Montgomery Burns, invites Forrest over to his elaborate estate to wrestle for him and assist in coaching his team in exchange for boarding and big money. Forrest wins gold at the 87 World championships, and fosters a twisted father/son relationship with Mr Burns.

Much homo-erotic bonding, drinking and drug use later, Mr Burns loses his marbles, humiliates Forrest (who is now addicted to booze and cocaine), and instead brings in Quasimodo as assistant coach, reducing Forrest to wrestler status. Forrest cracks under the pressure, and sucks at the 88 Olympics. Mr Burns grows envious of Quasimodo's coaching prowess and success, as well as his efforts to protect Forrest, regardless of poor performance. Forrest gets the boot & takes up cage fighting, while Quasimodo stays behind and eventually gets murdered by a slow-burning, envious Mr Burns.

Channing Tatum plays Mark Schulz, aka Forrest Gump - minus the good humor and sunny disposition... instead replaced by an overly-accentuated ape-walk and a constantly protruding forced under-bite that obviously made it hard to speak. A shame that he had to be portrayed in a mentally challenged, quasi-autistic fashion, when the actual Mark Schulz is in fact a personable guy that had a 3.6 GPA in high school.

Mark Ruffalo is Dave Schulz, aka Quasimodo - having packed on a few pounds of muscle and managing to look exactly like David Cross, our tragic hero is always hunched over and bow-legged, in a morning-after-Brokeback-Mountain kind of way.

And finally, funny man Steve Carrell... John DuPont - who is portrayed as Mr Burns with a speech impediment, an unhealthy love for guns, and a thousand-yard-stare borne of the constant clamoring for his aristocratic mother's affections & approval. His over-accentuated giant nose sadly changes size and shape several times throughout the film.

Everyone else is just a face - added like an afterthought, with no real interactions or discussions with the main characters.

It's got the whole "Faustian retelling, filled with belated guilted patriotism for a fallen American sports champion" vibe about it - throw in some men grappling, oddly shot scenes, men hugging, incredibly slow dialog, men slapping each other's backs and shoulders and a score filled with loads of melancholic piano during dramatic shots, and it's easy to see how it was so loved by the Cannes crowd...

Personally though, I wanted to gouge out my eyes halfway through - the film could have been around 40 minutes shorter were it not for the dramatic artsy landscape / filmed through a window / mundane happenings scenes and the frustratingly slow dialog.

The most entertaining bit during the entire 2-hour ordeal, was having a chuckle at the snoring of the guy sitting behind me.

I went in expecting an epic sports drama of Warrior proportions, and left depressed, wondering where it all went wrong.

Avoid this film like the plague.
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complete disappointment
char2114328 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a complete disappointment. I was so excited to see it after watching the trailers and knowing that Steve Carell was in it, I think he has great potential as a dramatic actor. The movie has a lot of awkward scenes and doesn't give you any back story into the characters. There's a lot of things that don't make sense and that are never explained. At the end of the movie they don't even tell you what Mark's reaction to his brother's death was or the sentence that du Pont got. I didn't even think the acting was that spectacular. Channing Tatum literally acts like an ape and Steve Carell is just creepy and uncomfortable. One of the worst movies I've seen.
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A profoundly affecting film, as low-key as it manages to be
StevePulaski27 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" opens along the lines of a mumblecore film, with little dialog and brief sequences establishing the ho-hum routine of somebody we would think would live a more intriguing and layered life. For the film's first fifteen minutes, we follow the routine of Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), an Olympic gold-medalist in wrestling who is now wading in the water for something to either come to him or him to find something to go to. These are a profound fifteen minutes, low-key and substantive in the regard that even somebody we fable and could possibly model ourselves after still goes through the checklist of ordinary things in his daily life: eating alone at a small, fold-up table in his apartment, eating fast food in his car, practicing at your average wrestling gym, and so forth. During these fifteen minutes, dialog is rare and we are captivated by the ambiance of Mark's surroundings and the bleak way Miller and cinematographer Greig Fraser (cinematographer for "Zero Dark Thirty") capture his environment.

One day, Mark is contacted by a representative for John Eleuthère du Pont, a multimillionaire philanthropist who wants to meet with him at once. Mark travels to du Pont's lavish home, where he informs him of his patriotism and his love for the sport of wrestling, and offers to coach Mark for his wrestling team known as "Foxcatcher," where they would travel and compete in wrestling tournaments all around the world. Mark contacts his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who has settled down with a wife and kids and, while he doesn't want to drop everything to join a wrestling team, supports his brother, for he sees that his brother's life has become a drudgery of existing rather than living. Mark accepts du Pont's offer and travels out to work under his grueling, yet motivating practices to hopefully become "the greatest wrestler in the world," a title that Mark has long-desired.

John du Pont is played by Steve Carell in one of his most fascinating and bizarre roles to date. Carell is buried under a plethora of facial prosthetics, giving his face a fatter, aged look to it, with gray, scaley-skin, thinning hair, little to no eyebrows, and a large, protruding nose. While, at first, you're distracted by Carell's getup, he overcomes one of the toughest hurdles in his acting career, which is getting you to look past the heavy use of makeup and manipulation to look at the character instead. Carell has always been an intriguing character actor to watch, taking comedy and drama roles, weaving in and out of them beautifully, like a younger Robin Williams. Here, he gives a haunting and unpredictable performance of a character that never seems fully relaxed and never quite stable.

Tatum and Ruffalo both shine in their respective roles as well, especially Tatum, who finally has found a role that allows him to show off his brawn as well as his ability to act and maintain an on-screen composure. Tatum has been one of my favorite leading males for years, and anytime somebody criticizes him of being an actor who's sole purpose is eye-candy needs to watch this film and eat their words. Tatum gives a visceral performance here, and one almost as haunting as Carell's, but in a different way. Tatum's performance is rooted more in ritualistic behaviors, including displays of uncontrollable anger when certain things do not work out, like when he's considerably overweight for a particular match. Frequently, Tatum's character engages in self-mutilation by punching and thrusting himself into a mirror, which turns out to be much more frightening then it sounds.

"Foxcatcher" is a terrific adult drama because it's so rare to see a film so low-key in its themes and its display of events, yet so effective in delivering a wild true story with all the punch it needs. Its only real misstep is how little we know about du Pont's deteriorating mental state at the end, and because of that, the ending comes out of nowhere, as if Miller and writers E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman didn't offer enough development or foreshadowing as to something like what occurred was about to take place. Furthermore, du Pont's character is sort of left as an enigma throughout the whole film, which may have been what he was like in real life to the brothers Schultz, but it becomes a bit of a contradiction, as the film tries to humanize the Schultz's yet leave du Pont cast in shadow.

However, this small feature still doesn't obscure the fact that "Foxcatcher" is one of the strongest adult dramas of the year, and has a collection of some of the year's finest performances all in one film.
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Never heard of this story and that was a bonus
deloudelouvain5 December 2017
Foxcatcher is a long movie but it never gets boring and that's something. As a Belgian I never heard of this story so for me it was all a surprise. I like movies based on a true story, certainly one like this one. The make-up crew should also get credits because what they did to Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum was very well done. It's because Steve Carrell as a specific voice that I recognized him immediately but with his changed physics I could have been fooled. He plays a really annoying character, one of those rich guys that thinks you can buy anybody or anything. But he did a very good job playing that arrogant prick. Channing Tatum looks like he came out straight of a cavern. He also did a good job, like all the rest of the cast. The story is interesting to watch and the end was surprising to me. I'm not a big fan of the wrestling sport but for this story it doesn't matter if you like it or not. Certainly worth a watch.
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Slow-burning, cerebral character study - not for those with a short attention span
brchthethird6 April 2015
FOXCATCHER is a film that is easier to admire than to love, and I mean that in the best way possible. While the slow and deliberate pacing will put a lot of people off, its disturbing subject matter, psychological depth and outstanding performances make it fascinating, if not riveting. For those unaware of what the story is about (like I was), the film mostly revolves around Mark and David Schultz, two Olympic gold medal-winning wrestlers who become involved with eccentric millionaire (billionaire?) John Du Pont, specifically in preparation for the 1988 World Championship and Seoul Olympics. But wrestling is just the conduit for a deep character study of people who looked to overcome personal weakness by achieving greatness. It's really hard to say who gives the best performance out of the three leads because all of them do so well. Mark Ruffalo (who plays Dave Schultz) usually does well, and this is no exception. Steve Carell was barely recognizable as the eccentric Du Pont, greatly aided by prosthetics in his physical transformation, but also quite different in the way he spoke and carried himself compared with what roles he usually plays. I suppose the biggest surprise of them all is Channing Tatum (playing Mark Schultz) who manages to hold his own against these other two acting greats. Although he didn't have a whole lot of dialogue (and really, the film as a whole doesn't), the physicality he brought to the role was incredible in its own right. As for the wrestling scenes, they were shot well, if unspectacular. Basically they did what they needed to do for the narrative, i.e., serve as guideposts so that one didn't get lost in the pacing (and also because they were factual). What interested me the most, though, was the curious relationship that develops between John Du Pont and Mark Schultz. Du Pont takes Mark under his wing, provides him with living quarters, a training facility, and pays him, yet his status as the team coach (and quite a rich one at that) makes it where the relationship is rather one-sided. In real life, John Du Pont was the black sheep of his family and a very lonely man, and taking on Mark Schultz was a way for him to indulge in his interests and to have a friend. Now, as interesting as I find true crime, there usually has to be some stylistic choice or a scene or two which get to me in an emotional way, and this film has that as well. Both of these scenes are dialogue-free and are scored using Arvo Part's "Fur Alina," a hauntingly minimal piano piece which I recently discovered. To me, these scenes (which I won't spoil) perfectly capture the film's melancholy tone. And in general, the score is rather tasteful. Often, the sound design will completely take a back seat and certain scenes will play out free of dialogue with a sort of humming that brings a subtle intensity and a growing sense of dread. Overall, FOXCATCHER is an excellent, dark character study that features some great performances and an ending that will shock you even if you see it coming. Highly recommended, as long you have a good attention span.
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Cannes darling Foxcatcher will be big at this years Oscars
mikemm163 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Bennett Miller's newest biopic, Foxcatcher, creates quite a disturbing picture for one of America's wealthiest and most powerful families. The film is based on the autobiography of Olympic Wrestling Champion Mark Schultz where he details his training leading up to the 1988 Olympics.

John Du Pont decides he wants to coach the men's Olympic Wrestling team. What are his qualifications you are asking yourself in the meantime? None. He has no qualifications. He simply is a rich schizophrenic man who lives at home with his mother and has a very strange affection toward men's wrestling and especially Mark Schultz. The film provides a dark tone and setting for the entirety of the film offering no alternative. The story is dark and Miller makes sure you know that.

The film is based on real events so it is not a spoiler to tell you that Du Pont's schizophrenia leads to a murder resulting him in jail where he resided until his death in 2010. His obsession with Mark and his brother Dave Schultz, another Olympic gold medalist, becomes the center of the plot in this spine tingling tale.

Steve Carell is going to get an Oscar nomination for this. He has finally proved to audiences that he can undertake and perfect dramatic acting. There is not one specific scene in the film that showcases this talent rather his performance as a whole. He is John Du Pont. They plaster on him a fake nose, make him look much older, and voilà you have Steve Carell looking like Du Pont. Next, he masterfully had to act like Du Pont. His struggle to prove to his mother he can do something and his sickening obsession with Mark and Dave give us that eerie feeling he is up to no good. Steve Carell freaked me out in this film. If it were up to me, I would absolutely give him a nomination and probably the Oscar.

Channing Tatum gives the biggest and best breakthrough performance I have ever seen. This role is not like any others for Tatum. He plays Mark Schultz, the younger of the two brothers. Tatum perfects Schultz's nervous habits allowing the audience to see the insecurity in Schultz's mind. He is a loner, seemingly sexually confused, and very much insecure about his own wrestling ability despite being an Olympic Champion. Channing Tatum is magnificent. I pray he receives an Oscar nomination as well.

It is so refreshing to see actors who have never really branched out before finally show us what they got. Tatum branched out with Foxcatcher and he showed us he has what it takes to be a serious actor and potential Oscar nominee in the future.

Director Bennett Miller won the Best Director prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival and I must confess I admire his directing so much. Foxcatcher is a very well made film and is created quite tastefully. There are several scenes that allude to Du Pont's homosexuality with his complete infatuation with Mark towards the beginning. It even implies Mark allowed this to evolve into something. Whatever it is, Miller does an excellent job conveying the creepiness of it all. His previous filmography includes Capote (2005) and Moneyball (2011). Obviously Miller enjoys creating stories centered on real people and events.

This film is not lighthearted and happy. It is dark and it is mysterious. Miller keeps us in a sort of shrouded mist throughout the film. It is very ambiguous at times but this ambiguity does not inhibit the film at all. This was one of the best films I saw at Cannes this year and I believe it's going to rack up a lot of Oscar nominations this awards season.
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Don't waste your time. Terrible movie.
sebaz-261-17343712 March 2015
I registered with IMDb just to write a review of this movie because it's so bad that I feel I have to warn people about it before they watch it. Just like Birdman, it's another 2014 Oscar nominated movie that is boring as hell and I keep wondering how it got so many good critic reviews and awards.

First of all, like many "Based on a true story" movies, most of it is factually wrong, like the Schultz brothers living at Foxcatcher at the same time, which never actually happened. The disclaimer should read "Loosely based on a true story".

But what irks me the most is that the true story is actually fascinating, in fact if you google John du Pont you will find lots of details on the life of this deranged lunatic. However, director Bennett Miller chooses to focus on just a small portion of du Pont's personality, mostly his arrogance and giant ego. As such, the movie ends up being over two hours of coma-inducing storytelling and visuals.

Miller had a large amount of elements in the real story to make this a really good three hour movie if he wanted. John du Pont was a fascinating lunatic, cokehead, drunk, you name it. He would drive a tank around his estate. On two different occasions, he drove his car into a pond. He thought he was the Dalai Lama. He tried to kill his wife. He had treadmills removed from his gym because he thought they were taking him back in time. And if you do some research on this lunatic you find lots of stories like this. Then why would Miller not use them, instead making this awfully boring movie? I just don't get it.

Save your money and time, this movie is just not worth it.
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How much for your soul?
hughman5510 February 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film fires on all pistons.  Skillfully directed with an economically written screenplay it is made real before your eyes by a cast of unparalleled performances. This film is as near perfection as you can get.

The screenplay is brilliant beyond words because it is beyond words.  In the case of this film, the economy of words, and the power of silence, speaks volumes.  And that silence, in the hands of a director and a cast like this, roils like volcanic magma.  "Foxcatcher" is the true story of two brothers, Mark and David Schultz, who become entangled in the dysfunctional mother/son relationship of Jean and John du Pont.        

Steve Carell plays John, a multimillionaire loner who's family's money is so old it smells.  He wisely piled on about a pound of makeup and prosthetics to the point where he is unrecognizable as the lovable goofball from "40 Year Old Virgin".  He then delivers one of the creepiest and most menacing performances ever recorded on film, and it would never have been as effective if he had been in the clown suit he's been wearing for the last 15 years.  Vanessa Redgrave as Jean, with only about three minutes of screen time, manages to buttress her son's weirdness with her own.  They are each the byproducts of too much money, isolation, and total disconnection from consequences. They dislike one another and they dislike one another's obsessions: hers, expensive horses, his, male Olympic wrestlers.  The estate they share has a world-class stable of Thoroughbreds presided over by Jean, and a world-class training center for wrestling presided over by du Pont.  It is from these two fortresses that they war with one another.  They are each, the only people in their respective lives, who spends any time with them that isn't paid to do so. And it is into to this toxic tar pit that the Schultz brothers are lured.  

In 1987, the Schultz brothers are Olympic gold medalists in wrestling. Post Olympic glory, they are living a very modest, if not meager, life training in a run down gym for the Seoul games.  The film opens with the two in a sparring practice with one another.  Their moves have been studied and repeated a thousand times before and, but for a mostly disregarded bloody nose, rudimentary. This is their war, their sibling rivalry, but tamed by rules.  Nonetheless, it is a conflict that reaches beyond the boundaries of their sport.   Out of nowhere this daily grind is interrupted by mulit-millionaire wrestling "enthusiast" John du Pont. He makes the younger Schultz, Mark, an offer of $25,000.00 to come to his personal training center. The trade off is to acknowledge him as his coach.  Du Pont, outfitted in coaching attire, walks imperiously around the gym, nodding and barking orders at his "stable" of wrestlers, without a clue to what he is doing.  He knows nothing about wrestling but is well practiced at grooming those around him with money and access to his privilege.  Over time, though, Mark becomes unmanageable and equally uncomfortable with du Pont's demands which are only vaguely alluded to.  Du Pont then purchases the previously unaffordable David Schultz to straighten out Mark.  It is a deal with the devil.  

The startling pivot in this film creeps up out of nowhere when David is asked to participate in a documentary and praise du Pont's coaching.  Take after take, with the film director prodding him, he is unable to say into the camera with any discernible sincerity, that he admire's du Pont's coaching ability.  The footage is rendered useless but it is not forgotten.  The tension between du Pont, Dave, and the younger brother Mark, who has Olympic weight on his shoulders, becomes unsustainable as the egos, dysfunction, and expectations, begin devouring the possibilities.  The results will leave no winners on or off the wrestling mat.  

Art Director, Brad Ricker, has washed the imagery of this film in grey; the color of decay, dust, and inertia.  The pace of the film is deliberately - not fast. The silence, so skillfully directed and acted, is deafening.  Carell, Ruffalo, Redgrave, and Channing give Oscar worthy performances.

The mixture of money, glory, dysfunction, ego, and the Olympic ideal, all come together here to create a compelling and disturbing picture of real life events. The snowball affect of one decision, leading to another, and another, until - well, bang, is unfurled with foreboding and deliberateness. This is a film that you can feel. It's not a good feeling, and you feel as though you are there. Not being nominated for Best Picture is unbelievable. But Oscar really only reflects achievement at about a rate of 50/50. This film will suffer the curse of being a great film about a bad thing. But it is a great film and well worth seeing. They'll get my ticket money twice.
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Foxcatcher, Steve Carell shines as the amazing John du Pont
JohnEleuthereduPont27 January 2015
I don't even know where to start when talking about this masterpiece of a motion picture. The wrestling scenes are really intense with the two brothers (played amazingly but not as good as Steve Carell by Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum). I was in awe all 159 times I viewed this film at the introduction of Carell's character, I am of course referring to the magic man that is John Eleithere du Pont. Steve Carell portrays him brilliantly, capturing the true emotion of this complicated character.I was in tears by the end of this film of ups and downs but it will truly leave you feeling warm inside at the end. Steve Carell is also brilliant and has been deservedly been nominated for the prestigious academy award for best performance by an actor in a leading role. I think everyone should watch this amazing film, as it is by far the best motion picture ever made.
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Four out of five stars
ramlalbabita9 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
While this is a good film with strong performances, it could have been a masterpiece had the director been a little more bold with the material. The real-life stand-off with the police and liberties with the time lines affected the flow of the narrative.

It is also a shame that the mother figure was glossed over. Vanessa Redgrave is too great an actress to keep on the fringes of a film. The real matriarch was as evil as they come. It is clear that this family has something wrong with them at the genetic level as the evil continues
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Boring, boring, boring ... and seemingly pointless
tggran27 December 2014
There are many slow-moving movies that are full of meaning and depth. This is not one of them. It drags on and on and on and on and provides not a shred of moral decisiveness or character development. If the character portrayed by Channing Tatum is supposed to be "slow" and/or autistic, then he did a great job, but I can't find where his character was meant to be so afflicted. You didn't see a single thought flash across his face the entire film. Steve Carell did a fine job of acting, but his character, too, showed no depth nor development. Mark Ruffalo provided a fairly solid performance and somehow overcame the dismal script that plagued this movie. No one else succeeded in that regard. I wouldn't watch this movie again if you paid me half a million dollars. A million, maybe.
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Make like a fox and run from this one.
Quietb-18 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a movie that will make a lot of lists. Maybe a ten best list, for sure a ten worst list.

The movie is way too long. It starts too early in the story and takes too long to get to the Du Pont mansion. Nearly ever scene begins early and ends late. Du Pont walks toward his training facility, the scene begins after he walks through the door. The training scenes are redundant. The movie is dialogue driven with too much attention given to the reaction shot, usually a blank stare. Often we are spared the dialogue by shooting through a window or watching the scene from a different room, a gimmick used too often.

It's a story about a guy looking for love and respect from his mother. It ain't gonna happen.

Hang a fake nose on Steve Carell and paste on a permanent scowl will not get an acting award. Channing Tatuim equals his performance in "Magic Mike". Mark Ruffalo tries his best to carry things along.

There are good movies and bad movies. This one is just annoying. No need to see it in a theater. You can turn it off at home.
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Drama Day for Frankenstein, Igor and Wreck-It-Ralph
ken5587 March 2015
The do-over for Steve Carrell is exactly how Frankenstein would end up if a make-up artist wanted to make him look human, and likewise Tatum Channing <=> Igor.

And if for some reason Frankenstein and Igor HAD to go plodding into a drama, then this movie would be the hilariously boring result. Mark Ruffalo's character did remind me of a bearded Wreck-it-Ralph, but at least there wasn't any weird prosthetics or forced facial movements.

Steve Carrell's immovable poorly done pasty-coloured forehead and Tatum's forced protrusion of the lower mandible … coupled with their very awkward posturing and walking movements (probably thanks to over enthusiastic 'theatrics' coaches) plus minced marbles-in-my-mouth dialogue, are all constant distractions …. even unintended entertainment … which soon drags on and on in this uninspired movie.

The real John du Pont and Mark Schultz have vastly different facial looks from the forced caricatures of what you find in this movie. Since the faces of both real men are hardly well-known, the actors should have been allowed to have their natural faces … and that's where the talent of each (if they had one) would be allowed to shine. And yes, the real John du Pont's forehead did move and his face did look like a proper living person, and the real Mark Schultz was not a protruding-jaw klutz. So why the odd prosthetics and make up here??

I am all for slow movies with panning scenes in a slow-burn drama … when it allows you to get immersed in the entire experience, but here in Foxcatcher the snail and tortoise races to be the slowest in a totally insipid and inane who-cares frame-by-frame.

After watching this movie, I read up on the real back-end story, and it is in fact more interesting reading about it then watching this extremely forced and unnecessarily stretched out and poorly executed 'dramatization' of events.

It is like watching our three actors starting out on their idiocy SNL routine … and then the audience having to wait for the punchline that never came even after over 2 hours!

Should have watched SNL instead :(
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Go See It!
wlmonroe20008 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Foxcatcher is a gripping and powerful film. Carell plays John Du Pont a man struggling wig himself, he asks Mark Shultz(Channing Tatum) to join his wrestling team he sponsors(Foxcatcher). I don't want to give anything away so I'll leave it at that.

I recently saw this movie at the film festival and I can say everyone in the theaters was filled with horror and excitement simultaneously. From every shreak to every laughter this film engages you to watch. A masterpiece that is Carells, Tatums, and Millers best work. Go see Foxcatcher! It is a extremely sad tale that will only make you wonder what a person is thinking. Every action has a consequence, that is the true theme of Foxcatcher.
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