Foxcatcher directed by Bennett Miller is a film of remarkable performances and chill inducing storytelling, all which goes towards creating a captivating film that leaves you enchanted and at the same time uncomfortable from the films content.
Without a doubt the crowning glory of Foxcatcher is the performances by Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo. I personally found that Channing Tatum was the actor who stood out most to me, despite all the marketing and such that is happening for this film and all of the talk about Carell’s transformative performance, this really is Tatum’s film. Mr Tatum plays Mark Schultz, an Olympic Gold medal winning wrestler who has lived his whole life in the shadow of his older brother David Schultz, played by Mark Ruffalo. Mark Schultz’s life is changed when he is introduced to John du Pont, played by Steve Carell, as the two begin a friendship and the goal of winning big again in the sport of wrestling, things begin to descend into quickly though, Mr Du Pont’s unconventional ways start to reveal themselves.
Channing Tatum gives what I believe to be the best performance of his career so far. He truly becomes the damaged and desperate Mark Schultz, he never once falters on screen, continually elevating his commitment to the role and by the end is a character that you are completely invested in and is also one you sympathise greatly with. I was blown away by Tatum’s work in Foxcatcher, I didn’t expect it and more praise absolutely should be given to him and his dedicated performance. Tatum is also supported by Mark Ruffalo (playing his brother) the chemistry and what feels like the long history between these two, did so much in the way of bringing authenticity to their relationship. These two complimented each other so well on screen and it once again just elevated the film.
All of the talk about this film is directed at Steve Carell’s performance. Now while Tatum was my favourite in this film, that still doesn’t detract from what Carell does in Foxcatcher as John du Pont. Carell really does become another person, he is the insidious, uncomfortable and unhinged character and the make-up that is utilised to get him closer to that point only intensifies the performance. I never felt comfortable or relaxed when watching John du Pont and I suspect that was a deliberate choice be the director. What Carell does with this character in unforgettably jarring and is one that I feel will be the bench mark for his work going forward.
What I also loved about Foxcatcher was director Bennett Miller’s style of film making. Having loved his previous two films a lot (Money Ball & Capote) I was excited to get back into the cinema and see what he had to offer. There is such purpose with the way in which Miller shoots his films, everything seems so necessary, there never seems to be any waste, everything feels deliberate in the way it was executed. I loved watching how he would shoot a scene, how things were marked out and how the actors fell into place within these scenes, this almost felt like a Fincher film at times it was so methodical and meticulous in how is was done. Miller knew exactly how he wanted things and it was all set out and shot so beautifully. His use of the cold foggy hills of Pennsylvania, the untouched interiors of John Du Pont’s house, everything was executed in such a perfect way. It and everything else seemed to come together so well and made this film such a joy to watch. If it wasn’t for an ending that felt a little under developed I think I would have had the perfect overall experience with Foxcatcher.
I absolutely loved this film, everything was so wonderfully done in this film and I think it is being over looked by too many people.
So with that being said I definitely recommend Foxcatcher. This is a film that will stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema; this is a brilliant achievement by director Bennett Miller and his team of crew and actors.