Friday, December 26, 2014
Steve Carell, Channing Tatum
November 14, 2014 (NY/LA)
November 21, 2014 (Expands)
Sony Pictures Classics
2 hours 14 minutes
I take it that when you see the names Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo all associated with the same movie, the first thought that comes to your mind is "that's gonna be funny." Well in case you haven't even heard of their latest film or the true story behind it, "Foxcatcher" is anything BUT a comedy. Believe it or not, this is a film, based on the real life murder of Dave Schultz at the hands of millionaire John du Pont, that is meant to be taken seriously. And aside from the crinkling of popcorn bags and the occasional cough from an audience member, I could practically hear pins drop due to everyone being so captivated by the intensity this film brought in its quiet nature. Director Bennett Miller is no stranger to films that tell tales based on real life people, as his last two films "Capote" and "Moneyball" all hit it big during their awards seasons. The same should be expected with this one, as "Foxcatcher" is a brilliant look into the lives of a millionaire slowly driven to insanity and the brothers who are in the passenger's side of the insanity the whole way through.
Without a question, my favorite performance in the film belonged to Steve Carell. While Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo were great here and deserve all of the praise they've received thus far, Carell just blows them out of the park mainly due to how much he loses himself in the role of John du Pont. Rather than being loud and hilarious as he usually is, Carell is quiet and a low talker, which makes him all the more menacing and terrifying along with the fantastic prosthetics he's wearing. When du Pont gets angry at someone like Mark Schultz in the film, he doesn't yell or have a temper tantrum, which just adds to the character's eerie nature. Not only is this performance a favorite of mine in regards to Carell's already great career, but this is also one of my personal favorite performances of the year.
Bennett Miller's direction here, while slow, is calculated and really well orchestrated. The screenplay by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman allows for the audience to see the breakdown of a friendship between du Pont and the Schultz brothers, thus adding to the constant tension present in the movie. These three men allow their visions to mesh so well that it's almost as if we the audience are watching a documentary on the characters in the movie. The musical score also keeps an eerie vibe alive during the movie as it's barely noticeable and not as extravagant as other scores have been this year. The one complaint that I have with the film is that when it's slow, it's pretty damn slow. However, considering how great everything else is in the film, that didn't really bother me as much as it may bother others.
Nothing in "Foxcatcher" is meant to be light-hearted or serve as some type of relief from everything else going on. From the first scene on, we are on a two hour journey of shock and dread that is both unpredictable and jaw-dropping if you don't know the true story that this film is based on. The performances are amazing here, the script and direction are well-calculated and great, and the film as a whole feels authentic and makes each of the characters both despicable and empathetic at the same time. This movie is not meant to put people in a good mood, rather its purpose is to tell a shockingly true story and to showcase the range that the actors, who usually are on the comedic spectrum of things, have here. "Foxcatcher," thanks to its intensity and slow burning nature, is a film that leaves a lasting impact on the audience long after the credits roll.
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