Shocking, Uncomfortable and Creepy
Based on the shocking true story, Foxcatcher is directed by Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and stars Steve Carell (Anchorman), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk) and Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street). The film tells the story of 2 brothers who are Olympic Wrestling champions that join Team Foxcatcher which is led by millionaire John E. du Pont. This union leads to very strange and unlikely circumstances. With 5 Oscar Nods, Foxcatcher has an impressive resume, but will it pass the test and win the ceremony?
Disclaimer: This review may seem really jumbled and complicated as I really can't make my mind up on this film. It has been in my head for over 24 hours...surely that must mean something. I'm sorry if this one isn't up to the standard of the others!
I'm going to start off with the acting which has gained 2 of the 5 Oscar nominations for this movie. Steve Carell is creepily fantastic! He really creates a presence on the screen that makes the audience feel very uncomfortable and tense. There is something very strange about du Pont (Carell). Carell is unrecognisable in this film and that really proves that this could open so many doors for him. He is a true contender for the best actor at the Oscars 2015. Channing Tatum also has a star turn - we get to see a side to him that has never been seen before. He really gets into his character and is really convincing. His performance also creates a lot of tension and darkens the mood of the film. It is a shame that Tatum hasn't gained any nods from the academy. Finally, Mark Ruffalo is also very impressive. He helps create the tense chemistry between du Pont and Mark (Tatum). The acting in this film is fantastic and I would highly recommend seeing this just for the performances. All 3 deserve great recognition. Tatum was the most surprising for me - in some aspects I felt that Tatum outperformed Ruffalo and feel that he deserves the Oscar nod instead.
The transformation of Carell was brilliant. The makeup team really deserve credit! (but maybe not the Oscar).
Ok, now the tricky part. Foxcatcher needs a lot of attention. If you don't dedicate yourself to the film, you will not feel any of the tension and the film may come across as very dull - however I do not feel that this was the case. I felt very uneasy and tense whilst watching Foxcatcher. Every time du Pont was in a scene, I immediately felt creeped out and uncomfortable. The plot is quite dull. Yes, it needs a lot of attention but just from the outset, it is simply about a jealous wrestler. This may make the film quite boring to some viewers. However, I couldn't keep my eyes off of the screen.
Foxcatcher also uses a lot of editing. It likes the black-out effect which does become quite repetitive and annoying. Towards the end of the film, the screen blacks out and you think its the end but it continues for another few minutes. I didn't agree with some of the editing choices.
The mood of Foxcatcher was very dark and tense. This was helped by there hardly being a score or soundtrack. There was hardly any non-diegetic sound, it was just the actors speaking to each other and an eery silence. This definitely added to the tone! After watching this, whenever I now hear the name 'Mark' be called, I automatically feel uncomfortable because of this film - it was said so many times by such a disturbing character (du Pont).
Now I'd like to do a little bit of analysis. I think the world 'Foxcatcher' relates really well to this film. Du Pont is the catcher and the athletes are the foxes - once he gets them, he finds it really hard to let them go and move on. He is a very controlling and emotionally disturbed man (due to the rejection from his mother). du Pont manipulates Mark to make him feel like he is having a great life but as time goes on and Mark starts to realise he is stuck there, Mark also becomes an emotionally disturbed character (jealousy and rejection from du Pont). Another note is that it is uncomforting to see du Pont pressure Mark into doing and saying lots of different things. It is so tragic that this was based on a true story - I cannot believe that someone like du Pont actually existed. After the death of du Pont's mother, he becomes very vile and even more depressed - he results to deadly actions that have resulted him going to (and dying in) prison. du Pont manipulates the athletes so they think they are competing for themselves but really, he does it for himself so he feels like he has achieved something - he controls them, he is way more than a coach.
The ending was also truly shocking and justified and made it clear the true intentions of du Pont.
I don't really know what I specifically didn't like about this, there was just something that I didn't get along with. I understand how many will see this as a masterpiece, but I felt that some of it was very dull. The film was so uncomfortable and tense that it might just border on being unbearable to watch.
I really do think that Foxcatcher has the potential to take home some gongs at the Oscars 2015 next month. Whether everyone will agree is a different story.
A really clever film that requires a lot of brain space. Foxcatcher may be dull to some but the acting is spectacular and the hidden moods and tones are so creepy and disturbing that Foxcatcher is a film I will be thinking about for a long time - unforgettable.