Foxcatcher, 2014. Premiering at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, proudly featured at the Toronto International Film Festival, nominated for five Oscars, including Best Performance for Steve Carell and Best Supporting Actor for Mark Ruffalo, and loosely based on a true story, Foxcatcher is a film to be reckoned with.
The trio of stars, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell, fabulously play off one another and Carrell truly deserves to be praised for transforming himself into the pale, soft-spoken, and ominous villain that is John du Pont. Carell’s almost unrecognizable as the physical changes to his nose, teeth and hair make him significantly unattractive. With his nose stuck up in the air, consistently seen either sitting in an elegant throne-like chairs or standing with his hands behind his back he plays a serious, demanding and lonely dynasty heir. Du Pont’s enthusiasm for the sport of wrestling, his patriotic urgency, his need for companionship and hunger to win medals dangerously escalates for two Olympic Gold Medalist brothers (Tatum and Ruffalo).
Tatum’s role as the younger hard-lucked quiet brother, Mark Schultz, is definitely a role outside of his normal genre. We are introduced to Mark as we are shown the results to the decline in his wrestling career but yet still he stills hopes to gain another medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. His character closely resembles that of an ape. This reflection can be found from the way Tatum walks, hunched shoulder with his arms hanging long by his sides, his lack of speech and difficulty communicating, and even when he pounds his head when he’s angry or stressed out. The director (Bennett Miller) even instructed cosmetics to add special effects to Tatum’s nose and teeth to enhance the pout of his lips and cheek bones. This is also modeled in Mark’s relationships with his older brother and du Pont. Mark needs his supportive and rational brother Dave (Ruffalo) to coach him not only on the floor but in his life. We see Mark’s dependency and comfort he needs from Dave and we see Dave’s remarkable patience and love he has for his younger brother. Mr. du Pont takes advantage of Mark’s talent for further gain in being a credited philanthropist much like a scientist uses monkey’s for experiments for scientific advancement. His recruitment of the Schultz brothers to coach the next USA Olympic team makes for a dynamic plot and loyal friendships turn sour.
Foxcatcher surprisingly didn’t take home any Oscars last night, but they had some stiff competition to say the least and Foxcatcher has been recognized and won many other awards including Best Director at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The film’s recognition extends beyond the film world to athletes everywhere, history and the Schultz family. This brilliantly filmed picture will have you conflicted about the twisted relationships that unravel throughout the film and you’ll find yourself clinging to suspense for the fate of these characters. – Review by Darcy Smith