Five Academy Award nominations is something that should catch your attention. Another eye catcher is the fact that Channing Tatum in a role which doesn’t play upon his romantic lead factor or looks. Then there is Steve Carell playing a very different role for him. Or is it?
Though once you really look at his career you see that he is not adverse or scared of taking on roles outside of his usual comedic wheelhouse. Carell is a good actor. An underappreciated one. Versatility has been the name of the game for Steve Carell. Yes, he has made a name for himself in the comedy world with turns in things like The Office, Despicable Me and Date Night. But he also has taken on more serious roles in films like Beautiful Boy, The Big Short and Vice. Showing that no emotion or type of character is too much of an ask for him whatever type of film it is.
With its rather dark tone and strange characters, Foxcatcher is not your stereotypical film which attracts big Hollywood actors and yet it has. Maybe it was the opportunity to work with director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) which drew in Carell, Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Bennett Miller does not make a lot of films (four over 2o years), but when he does they tend to have an impact. They are never box office monsters. The impact is more felt with the indie film or arthouse crowd.
Another intriguing part of the film team is co-screenwriter Dan Futterman. He began his career as an actor and has now settled into being one of the more respected screenwriters working today. Futterman also has not written a ton but it is a case of quality over quantity. He wrote the script for Capote and television show In Treatment. Both were smart and original.
Though as is usually the case in that the lead actors got most of the attention, they are ably supported by Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller and (surprise, surprise) Anthony Michael Hall. This is a film which is all about acting. They have to “sell” the story to make it work. All lend to the creation of the required environment allowing the story’s tone to live and breathe.
Based on a true story, this is a film about wrestling and male relationships. Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum – Magic Mike, The Hateful Eight) has always existed in his older brother David’s (Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight, Avengers: Infinity War) shadow. They are both wrestlers, but David is the one who has gotten most of the attention. Feeling stifled because of this and the state of near poverty which American Olympic athletes exist in, when eccentric multi-millionaire John Du Pont (Steve Carell) offers him the opportunity of a lifetime, Mark walks away from his brother.
As Mark moves onto the Du Pont compound, a relationship develops between the millionaire and the young wrestler. Du Pont sees this as his chance to do something no one else in his family has. Obtain an Olympic gold medal. That is what he and Mark are hoping for out of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea. Du Pont is especially hoping for the respect of his touch, diapproving mother, Jean (Vanessa Redgrave – Atonement, Mission: Impossible).
It begins as the perfect environment for Mark to train in. Then it develops into something damaging and dark. Du Pont’s egotistical and selfish behaviour begins to wear on Mark. Plus he is introduced into a lifestyle which is not condusive to his wrestling. Mark’s self-confidence is further worn away when Du Pont becomes obsessed with David and having him join the team. As the pressure increases so Du Pont’s paranoia and erratic behaviour increases.
-The Story of Foxcatcher
-Previews of Whiplash, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Leviathan, Love is Strange