FoxcatcherDVD of the Week Thursday, February 26th, 2015
dvd of the week
Both Mark Shultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother David (Mark Ruffalo) won gold medals at the 1984 Olympics, and while David parlayed his fame to a coaching job, Mark is at loose ends, living alone and training with scowl. One day, out of the blue, Mark is asked to fly to Pennsylvania and meet John du Pont (Steve Carell) at his vast estate, Foxcatcher. Du Pont tells Mark that he wants to create a world-class wrestling training facility and help bring American back to greatness. Even though du Pont is clearly weird – awkward, snobbish, self-important, overly indulgent of alcohol – Mark is enamored by du Pont’s vision and decides to join him. They become very close, and then too close, and things sour when du Pont brings David to Foxcatcher to fix the problems Mark had created. And then things start going very badly. It’s hard to tell who made the film so starkly beautiful, the brilliant cinematographer Greig Fraser or Bennet Miller’s Oscar-nominated direction. But they are both at fault for making the film so icy and bleak, which works in many places but is a bit relentless after two hours. Carrell’s telegraphs crazy and desperate very well, but it’s also hammy and obvious. Tatum and Ruffalo, however, are brilliant. Ruffalo is always this good; everything he does on camera is sympathetic and believable. Tatum, who looks spectacular in a wrestling singlet but tempers the sexy with an awkward lumber, is surprisingly moving as a not-so-swift, very damaged athlete who just wants to win. I’d rather he got the Oscar nomination that Carrell campaigned for and received.
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