Foxcatcher - Review
A well deserved 5 Oscar nomination movie, that deserves every bit of praise it gets.
Foxcatcher is the latest picture from the critically acclaimed director Bennett Miller, a two time Oscar nominee, previously accredited to his masterpiece Moneyball (2011), and is based off the book "Foxcatcher" written by Mark Schultz. Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo, both of which were nominated for Oscars due to their exceptional performance, star in this movie alongside Channing Tatum.
The movie takes place during the late 1980's, in the build up for the 1988 Seoul Olympics and revolves around the multi-millionaire that is John Eleuthere du Pont, of the du Pont family. John du Pont was born into one of the most wealthiest families in America, and if you don't know already their wealth is a result of the du Pont chemicals industry. Du Pont decides to run his own wrestling team, in hope to restore patriotism and instil role models in society, with Olympic gold medallist Mark and Dave Schultz as the figurehead of this team with the aspiration of winning gold once again. Although, there is an ulterior motive towards du Pont's desire to win gold, which I will leave up to you to discover.
Foxcatcher is an acting master-class. Steve Carell gives the performance of his life in this movie, and creates this damp and eerie atmosphere whenever his character walks into frame. Upon every scene of which Steve Carell is in, you become completely transfixed on his character, you hang on to every sentence he says and wherever he looks, you look. The make up department nailed it on the head with this movie, as it just emphasises Steve Carell's incredible physical and mental transformation. John du Pont is known throughout history to have been an unusual persona, riddled with wealth and had no one to share his wealth with from a young age, ultimately leaving him alone as you find out through the movie. Bennett Miller's idea of du Pont however, is said to be toned down as to just how insane du Pont was in real life. Can you imagine? All of these facts that you learn from sources that had known du Pont as person, are all done justice with Steve Carell's performance, to a level where I don't think I will ever look at him the same way again. Mark Ruffalo's performance alongside Steve Carell's is acceptional. Throughout the movie he conveys this incredible bond and love from Dave Schultz onto his younger brother, to a level where you can feel it through Mark and Channing's incredible on screen chemistry. Mark's portrayal of Dave Schultz sets the bar for best big brother ever. He is constantly trying to help and be there for Mark Schultz's escalating career, despite him being shunned and left out of his younger brothers life. Both Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum bounce off each other excellently and unite a mere perfect acting triangle with Steve Carell.
The cinematography in the film is excellent. Side shots of Steve Carell to really emphasise that legendary long nose of du Pont. Most dialogue sequences are shot cleverly, and precisely. Often the camera will appear at a low angle shot of du Pont, whenever it's him talking, almost as if he is looking down on his counterpart, illustrating his power and control over whom he sets his eyes on. Panning shots of the famous American cornfields and the establishing shots of the grey misty and bleak Pennsylvania countryside, matching the tone of the movie.
Dialogue wise there is very little, but when there is your ears are wide open, especially when there is dialogue involving du Pont. With this little dialogue, it creates a slow burning movie, a narrative that is told at a careful and steady pace until reaching a shocking and penultimate climax.
Foxcatcher is a masterpiece of direction. With great vision of how this philanthropist should be portrayed for us on screen, and the portrayal of brotherly chemistry immerses you entirely into the picture. Excellent screenplay in building an excellent story at a measured speed. And Cinematography that blends so well with atmosphere of the film as well as emphasising who has what place in the movie.
This is truly an overlooked movie and is one that everyone should give a chance.