Saturday, January 17, 2015


Plot: Billionaire John DuPont (Steve Carell) is a olympic wrestling fan, and he opens a training camp for the US wrestling team at his estate. He invites brothers Dave and Mark Schultz (Mark Ruffalo & Channing Tatum) to join the team. Dave is older and more of a coach, and Mark is the Olympic prospect for the 2008 Games.  John Dupont is doing this to prove himself to the public and to his mother (Vanessa Redgrave.) John's passions push Foxcatcher to its surprising conclusion. The film is based on a true story. 

Review: Foxcatcher starts like a sports drama, but after the 2008 Olympics it becomes a psychological thriller as DuPont's weirdness or mental illness becomes evident. 

The pacing is very slow, and the music is spare -- many scenes are quiet. The pacing makes Dupont's mental state creepier and gives the audience time to think. In my view, the pacing was too slow in the first sports movie part of the film, and it was okay in the later psychologic thriller part.

The only worthwhile performance was Mark Ruffalo, who is always great. Channing Tatum plays a tough guy and it is a pretty dry role. Steve Carell is playing way out of his type, and he is dry and understand. He telegraphs is inner turmoil more by his actions than his facial expressions. In my view, Steve Carell was miscast. A better actor might have done more with it. How about Daniel Day Lewis or JK Simons?

What was this movie about? It is a meditation on a the personality of single crazy person. Perhaps it is equally a commentary on a society where mentally ill people can run amok. I left going, "What a weird guy."

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

Directed by: Bennett Miller based on the book by wrestler Mark Schultz

The Music: By Robert Simonsen Very spare. Many one note piano meditations. Slow. A few 1980's pop songs.

Cinematography: The visuals are nothing special. There is two points where the world gets fuzzy suggesting that the Foxcatcher estate is a dreamworld. 

Rating: 2.0 stars: Not recommended. Too slow. No payoff.

More: Foxcatcher has a lot of male/male touching and hugging, and I wondered about homosexuality in the wrestling camp. Reportedly, duPont had his testicles removed after a horse riding accident, and was not interested in sex of any kind. 
The real John E duPont

Spoiler - Seriously Don't Read This: DuPont plead insanity at the trial. Witnesses said claimed he was Jesus, a Russian Czar, and the Dahli Lama. The jury found guilty but mentally ill, which is called 3rd degree in Pennsylvania.