Film Review: Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller, 2014) ★★★★

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With a dream of rebuilding patriotism for American athletes, dilettante wrestling enthusiast and billionaire, John E. Du Pont (Steve Carell) hires Olympic Gold medallist and freestyle wrester, Mark Schutlz (Channing Tatum) in the hopes of leading his team to international victory. A strong bond develops between Mark and his new mentor but a rift is set in motion when Mark's brother, Dave,   joins Team Foxcatcher as co-coach. With John's behaviour coming increasingly erratic, the events following the 1988 Summer Olympics lead to devastating circumstances. 

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Oscar-nominated director, Bennett Miller returns with another dramatic biopic, documenting the true events of The Schultz Brothers' time at the Foxcatcher Estate. Known famously for Capote (2005) and Moneyball (2011), Miller has become a renowned for his picturesque, stunning cinematography and gritty biographical productions which, as of yet, tend to feature heavily on sports, murder or...both. Having already made comedy actor, Jonah Hill, an Oscar-nominee for Moneyball, Miller has this time cast another comic - Steve Carell, in the role of Du Pont which renders him unrecognisable.

It can be argued the relationship between Schultz and Du Pont, projected in the film, is that of a homosexual one; a hard body and a soft body, a connection between two lost and lonely men who want nothing more then to be accepted and recognised for their achievements. However, more probable is the notion that it is a relationship much like that of two children with no sexual connotation. Du Pont, with his standard mother issues (which sees Vanessa Redgrave feature) confides in Mark, explaining he never had a real friend growing up and those he had were paid for. The pair are united in their solitude - with Mark living completely in his older brother's shadow all his life. As if like , John gets Mark in to drugs and bad habits and is jealous of his relationship with his brother. Tensions then begin to flare when John believes Mark to be disobedient and humiliates him in front of the other Foxcatcher team members as though to assert the dominant male role. Played wonderfully by Carell, Du Pont has an uneasy, eerie vibe to his character - one on hand being extremely generous and loving, even somewhat nurturing but with an underlying darkness.

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Showing yet again his versatility as an actor, Mark Ruffalo, too, gives another brilliant performance as Dave Schultz. Unlike his younger brother, Dave is grateful but wary of the hand that feeds them and rightfully so. Little can be said, however, for Sienna Miller's role as Dave's wife, Nancy, who seemed rather under-cast. It felt as though the role could have been filled by any actress but nevertheless, she does not disappoint in her cameo - though seemingly meaningless.
     Channing Tatum has now established himself as a serious actor. Though mostly renowned for his shirtless and comedy roles, Tatum should be commended for his writing and producing skills and Foxcatcher acts as further proof in his abilities. However, whilst his performance is good and utterly believable, it leaves little impact on the audience and Carell outshines him.

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The narrative itself, in some areas, feels to slow down almost to the point of stopping. The opening, though visually remarkable, is a slow build to establish the films' premise. The bleak state of mind in which Mark finds himself in is made clear with muted tones and a gritty backdrop. Given the opportunity by Du Pont to become an American 'hero' of sport, the mise-en-scene shifts to a flag-waving, bright horizon yellow haze but we know this is a downward spiral being a biopic piece.

In comparison to the trailers, I felt a little mislead. The pace and psychological depths of the film, though ever-present and character development fully explored - I felt that Du Pont could have been portrayed more through his frantic mind and a heavier build up could have been used in order to trigger the final events. In someways, this slow build could contribute to the then eventual shock of the final scenes but in others, an anti-climax. Although based on true events, I felt a little added drama could have been featured.

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Though dragging in some parts, Foxcatcher is a title that is made for Oscar season - Much like Capote, it features an outstanding cast as Carell shines in this tragic biopic, and it is visually stunning with an excellent screenplay. Foxcatcher gets a Sophie star rating of 4 out of 5 stars and a fingers crossed for Carell and Ruffalo in this year's Oscars.

Have you seen Foxcatcher yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

Until next time movie lovers,





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6 comments:

  1. a very accurate review! i loved the depth and layers of the characters, i was crying in the end! amazing film, really.

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    1. Me too - really hope it does well at the Oscars for the cast! X

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  2. Looks like an awesome movie need to see it! Have not seen Fox CAtcher, also on my list!
    Happy weekend!
    x

    www.incaseofneedblog.com

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    1. Yeah if you get a chance I'd say definitely go! I'm hoping Steve Carell takes home a golden statue for it :) x

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  3. Ah this sounds really good - I was a bit unsure about it but definitely want to see it now. I really enjoyed capote! x

    Jasmin Charlotte | UK Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Yay! Let me know you think of it, it's a great movie! x

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