Bennett Miller is a director who only three films to his name but is already one of the most accomplished directors in the world. Before his third film Foxcatcher, Miller directed Capote and Moneyball. Both biopics about prominent American people. With Foxcatcher he tells the story of American heroes and an American villain. Based on true events, Foxcatcher tells the story of Dave and Mark Schultz, two Olympic champion wrestlers and their unlikely relationship with multi-millionaire John du Pont, who invites them his team, Team Foxcatcher.
Directed by: Bennett Miller with a screenplay from Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye and starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in the three main roles, Foxcatcher is a stirring drama and wonderful, dark character study. The film is elevated mainly by three spectacular performances from it’s three lead stars; Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Carell is the pick of the three performers in his dark and sadistic turn as John Du Pont. With his prosthetic nose Carell is dry, awkward and quietly terrifying. He completely inhabits the role, his mannerisms, demeanor all represent the darkness of his character. What’s even amazing is that this is the same guy who is known countless comedic roles, From The Office to Anchorman to Crazy, Stupid, Love. His transformation into this character is truly fascinating. Channing Tatum is also very good giving the best and most emotionally complex performance of his career as Mark Schultz, the younger brother of Dave who’s tired of living in his shadow, Tatum’s character goes through so many phases in the movie and his acting through all this is superb. As for Ruffalo, his character is the most realistic and effective. He acts as the voice of reason after his brother neglects his guidance. He is excellent and gives perhaps the most dramatic performance of his career.
Even though the attention remains mainly on the characters Foxcatcher manages to maintain the element of wrestling as well as staying relevant as a drama. Now, Foxcatcher may be a wonderfully acted film but it lacks in presenting a strong narrative. The pacing is also quite slow therefore the film relies on its actors to dictate the pace. The screenplay from Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye isn’t exactly very compelling either, while the character development is impeccable the weak narrative remains the film’s biggest problem.
In conclusion, Foxcatcher is a great film that features Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo at the top of their game. It manages to stay relevant as both a drama and film about wrestling. Even if it lacks in presenting a strong narrative Foxcatcher is a dark, morose crime-drama and one of the best films of the year.