'Foxcatcher' - Movie review

Jan 30, 2015, 16:01 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

Starring: Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Bennett Miller

Channing Tatum in 'Foxcatcher'.

John DuPont was a crazy man. He was rich, and he was obsessive and he was also a deeply disturbed (and also disturbing) personality. Brought up on a huge estate of the famous DuPont family, he had been doing crazy things all his life, until he reached the crescendo and was hauled to prison in the mid 90’s. ‘Foxcatcher’ attempts to cover the events preceding his arrest.

The film is directed by Bennett Miller who earlier made ‘Capote’ and ‘Moneyball’. Both those films had something in common – a strange hypnotic vibe that could pull you in with just the atmosphere and the visuals. ‘Foxcatcher’ is also very atmospheric, and it’s downright chilly at certain places. Like his previous movies this film also has a ton of great acting, from pretty much every actor in the film. Steve Carrell stands out as DuPont, the bizarre and scary, yet really pathetic excuse of a human being. Even Channing Tatum does some real acting in the movie apart from the athletic stuntwork required of him in every movie he’s previously been in. Mark Ruffallo channels his inner Hulk once again as a wrestler.

The thing is, ‘Foxcatcher’, albeit a well-made movie, is not nearly as sensational as it is trying to be. We meet Mark Schultz (Tatum), a wrestler in a Midwestern town with an Olympic Gold heading off to train with DuPont on his gigantic Foxcatcher farm. The two form a deep and weird friendship, even more heightened by the fact that Schultz is indebted for life towards DuPont because the latter paid to give the former a life of luxury. DuPont, on the other hand wants to win a few Olympic gold medals and he can go to any extent to achieve that. He also has to prove to his disappointed and disapproving mother that he’s worth something.

The psychological drama thriller elements aside, ‘Foxcatcher’ is a movie that feels like ticking off a checklist of things that happened prior to a dramatic event. When the dramatic event does arrive, the film does nothing to explain or show what happened afterwards. Those who already know the details about said event will be disappointed to see that there’s nothing below the surface of the film, and those not familiar will also be wondering what the point of the film was. Because it just shows a singular event of Schultz’s life, and ends with zero closure both to the protagonist and the audience. You’ll leave the theater wowed by the acting, yet unimpressed by the film.

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