Oscar Season is finally kicking into gear and this week’s contender is Foxcatcher. I admit that aside from a brief infatuation with the WWE around the time the Hardy Boyz were putting Edge and Christian through tables I know absolutely nothing about the world of wrestling in any form or at any level.
The Schultz brothers and Du Pont were complete strangers to me therefore I have no idea how accurately they have been portrayed. I am not asking either. I pride myself on a complete refusal to do any extracurricular research into the films that I watch. A film is a film and should be judged as such.
PLOT: Olympic gold medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) joins the Foxcatcher wrestling team formed by John du Pont (Steve Carell) to train for the 1988 Olympics. Schultz moves into du Pont’s training grounds however following a violent altercation Schultz begins to rethink their relationship. END PLOT
Foxcatcher is a quiet film with an understated script which seems to follow a less is more pattern. There were lots of pointed silences and due to my complete lack of prior knowledge I felt that I was missing the significance of what was not being said. It was a bizarre feeling and one that I haven’t experienced before. Nevertheless the film was always engaging and I was blown away by the closing events.
Channing Tatum is a favourite of mine and I have been a fan from the good old Step Up days. I don’t pretend that he is the strongest actor in the world but neither does he and I am enjoying his success as much as he is baffled by it. It was good to see him try something serious and despite having a minimal amount of dialogue to showcase what he could do Tatum can hold his head up high.
Mark Ruffalo is the perfect everyman and is always likeable however it is Steve Carell who was the biggest surprise as Foxcatcher marks the first time I have seen him in a non-comedic role. Carell was perfectly creepy and some of his attempts to coach the wrestlers were purposely uncomfortable to watch. I wasn’t sure what to make of du Pont and what his intentions were but when Carell was on screen I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
The film is a slow burner and despite clocking in at a lengthy 2hours 9mins (IMDB) I was engrossed. It perhaps lacked the emotional intensity of other sports films such as Warrior or Friday Night Lights but the performances were strong enough to make it worth my time. Foxcatcher gets a very respectable 7/10 but unless I suddenly take an interest in wrestling I would be hard pressed to find a reason to watch it again.