Based on true events, Foxcatcher tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. When Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate and help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics at his new state-of-the-art training facility, Schultz jumps at the opportunity, hoping to focus on his training and finally step out of the shadow of his revered brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo). Driven by hidden needs, du Pont sees backing Schultz's bid for Gold and the chance to "coach" a world-class wrestling team as an opportunity to gain the elusive respect of his peers and, more importantly, his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave). Flattered by the attention and entranced by du Pont's majestic world, Mark comes to see his benefactor as a father figure and grows increasingly ... sWritten by Sony Pictures Classic
November 14, 2014
The Tedious Process of Foxcatching.
In Foxcatcher Channing Tatum plays real life Olympic gold medal winning wrestler, Mark Schultz. In the early 80’s, Mark is hired by Billionaire John Du Ponte (Steve Carrell) to train him and a team of Olympic hopefuls for the upcoming summer games. John’s ulterior motive is to hire on Mark to eventually convince his brother David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), a better wrestler, to join their wresting organization and coach. Mark is lured in to the eccentric world of money, drugs once under John’s wing. After John is able to buy David into joining the team; Mark then begins to fall apart and the real life events of this odd bit of history play out for our viewing horror.
I think I was either too young or just not interested enough in news a young kid to remember this story. Of course a lot of the story was amped up for the sake of a good narrative but the major events are true. I will not spoil the ending for others of you who do not remember the outcome. A lot of time is spent in this film with tedious character development. My hat is off to Channing Tatum for branching out on more challenging roles, this is a much deeper departure from Magic Mike 2. Although he is still a big frat guy; he just plays a bigger, dumber frat guy with a prosthetic nose and cauliflower ear. There is one big climactic scene toward the end where he shows some promise. I love how filmmakers always seem to visually represent a cocaine addiction spiraling out of control with a douchey haircut. I wonder how that creative process goes. “Okay, cocaine addiction is spiraling out of control at this point, besides dark circles under the eyes, how can we get our point across?” “Douchey, haircut?” “Yes, yes spike the hair and frost the tips, DONE!”
Steve Carrell’s performance is very complex and should gain Oscar recognition. He has obviously done some working on nailing the John du Ponte look and mannerisms. Although from the footage I have seen of the real John du Ponte, Carrell is playing him a little more ridged than the actual person; kind of Frankenstein-esq. Perhaps as a means of really selling the sinister nature of the character. Sienna Miller plays David’s wife Nancy. This is the second Bio-pic this year for Sienna who played Chris Kyle’s wife Taya in American Sniper (2014).
The overall message of this film is that we all are seeking someone’s approval in life, be it a mother, father, brother, friend or employer. This movie is a very slow burn and requires some patience. If you were aware of the story, then this will be a very interesting watch. Even after seeing the film having not known, it’s interesting to go back and see the actual people and real life story. Aside from seeing Steve Carrell outside of his comfort zone and pushing hard on a new dramatic character (that’s what she said), this movie offers little until the end in the strait entertainment department. Artfully done, just not one you need to see more than once.
As they say, sometimes real life can be stranger than fiction … and Foxcatcher proves it is absolutely true.
I walked into the theatre only knowing a few things — Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell, wrestling and Oscar-contender. If that’s all you know as well … stop reading … go to the movies and watch it … then come back to us and tell us what you think! Going in cold did make the 134 minutes bearable. A little too long, of course! We all know my disdain for movies longer than 120 minutes and constant cry to Hollywood “Edit! Edit! Edit!”
But I digress … this is an amazing story put on screen in a manner that is worthy of the Oscar-talk.
Steve Carrell did a wonderful job as John Du Ponte. And the make-up folks did a wonderful job letting him play this role without us thinking Michael Scott was on the screen. I can only imagine how difficult it is for actors such as Carrell to move beyond such a lovable character — one that often defines our workspace and conversations. It’s hard to be mad at Michael Scott / Steve Carrell therefore without incredible acting and make-up the Foxcatcher story could have been lost when they selected Carrell for the lead role. But it wasn’t. If Oscar equals world-class, this team is worthy of the honor.
(I will admit, though, that I think Carrell borrowed some characteristics from Gru in Despicable Me … just a bit.)
I loved Channing Tatum in this movie. I don’t think it’s because I’m a woman who loves Channing Tatum — he earned a lot of street cred playing Mark Schultz. Yes, he is playing a guy that works out a lot. But Mark’s character was complex while quiet — which is very difficult to get across on screen. It’s clear Tatum took this role very seriously and stepped up to the challenge.
Mark Ruffalo was outstanding. I don’t know if he’ll ever get recognized with an award, but I believe he is the premier supporting actor who really pulls out the best acting in the folks that share a screen with him. While Tatum seemed like a natural fit in his role, I was shocked to see Mark Ruffalo on screen as an Olympic wrestler. He was awesome. He was believable. If I were casting a movie, I’d want a role for Ruffalo and Edward Norton. In my humble opinion, these two actors are true chameleons. Except maybe as Hulks (interesting that they both have done those roles … hmmmm …)
Reading about the true story and behind the scenes is quite intriguing. In a recent interview, Carrell admits that the actors didn’t interact much on set. “It wasn’t anything planned, we just naturally didn’t interact, aside from the scenes we were doing. We didn’t hang out, or bond,” he said. Reading other articles it’s clear this wasn’t a fun set to be on. Many of the real-life characters, including David Shultz’s wife Nancy, were on set to bring reality to the movie. It’s a very serious movie … with a very serious message.
And to add to the real-life drama, Mark Shultz is not happy about how his life story ended up on the screen. He lashed out at Director Bennett Miller over the last few weeks regarding a specific scene in the movie … and the true life saga from Foxcatcher continues.
I believe you will enjoy this movie on-screen and researching the story afterwards off-screen. Definitely put it on your list if it is Your Turn To Pick!