Foxcatcher (2014)- review

SPOILERS AHEAD

I knew the general gist of the movie and the pivotal moment, and I had heard reviews of Carell’s acting, but it didn’t prepare me for how unsettling the movie was. There really wasn’t much plot to the movie- it follows Mark Schultz’s path to Worlds and the 1988 (?) Olympics in Seoul. At least 70% of the movie was a training or match scene. And yet, what stood out the most was the acting by Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum.

Like most of the general public, I know of Carell through The Office. In this movie, gone was his darkly sarcastic yet affable persona. Instead, Carell was a creepy (especially when he smiled) and taciturn John du Pont. I think they built his character quite well to be unpredictable and trigger happy. What was most interesting about his body language was the upturned nose. I chose to think this represented his pedigree and innate belief that he is the expert/coach. It was interesting to see his nose level when Dave was brought to Foxcatcher.

Mark Ruffalo did a great job portraying Dave, as did Channing with Mark Schultz, but I’d like to one day see them in roles completely different from their “norm”.

Foxcatcher was definitely more show than tell. I’d prefer if we knew exactly when the turning point for Mark was. Was it when he reflected on his introduction to cocaine? Or did he suddenly feel uncomfortable with John trying to assert himself as a coach and a wrestling expert? I suppose the “show not tell” could be seen as a stylistic choice- after all, in real life, we never know others’ intentions or thoughts. I would’ve also like to have seen a little more build up of the antagonism between Dave and John. Everything in the movie felt quite low-key, like a slithering snake, until John shot Dave. And about that shot- I was expecting the sound, but it still caused me to jump out of my seat.

I would’ve liked closure in the movie’s ending. We never got to see Mark’s reaction to du Pont murdering his brother.

All in all, I believe this movie delivered its story and message successfully. What truly made the film worth watching is the character studies of the Schultz brothers and du Pont.

7/10 -I wouldn’t watch it again partially because it was so unsettling and partially because I wanted more out of the film. However, I won’t discourage anyone from watching it if they want to.

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