You know when you eat something that you think "This food has to be tasty" but then realize, "Actually this is kinda blah"? In film, that's Foxcatcher.
Foxcatcher has solid performances from all three of its leading actors and the film’s content has ‘oscar bait’ written all over it. The cinematography is decisive and adds to the film’s mood and for a bit you might think Foxcatcher is a prestigious film worthy of the nominations it’s garnering – you might be mistaken.
Channing Tatum is Mark Schultz, an Olympic gold medalist in the sport of men’s wrestling. His life greyly drones along as he trains with his brother and fellow athlete Dave, played by Mark Ruffalo. Dave’s life is changed substantially when multimillionaire and philanthropist John du Pont (Steve Carrell) invites Dave to train at his estate in Pennsylvania Foxcatcher Farms.
Foxcatcher is a dramatic examination of the people behind the events that unfold during this time period for the Schultz brothers. It is depressingly taciturn and does not embellish the moments in this real men’s lives. Though it should be noted the film takes several liberties in manipulating the time frame in which these events take place to their whim for narrative effect and is detrimental to the film’s biographical integrity. Bennett Miller‘s direction of E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman‘s screenplay is starkly ambiguous and provides no illumination or psychological evaluation into the characters motives. In fact, the film’s makers manage to strip some layers away from the characters’ personalities to make them more of an awkward every-man.
While I understand the final effect the film Foxcatcher is going for, it simply misses the mark for me. There is not nearly enough content in the story itself in the way the film is told and its pacing is abysmally unbalanced. Foxcatcher just drily brings to the life the story that occurred in 1996 and could have done so in thirty minutes rather than two hours. It’s climax is weak, uninspired and cliche.
It is like Foxcatcher is trying to be significant and to use the Schultz brothers as a mirror to speak of a greater message, but unsuccessfully. Perhaps I am missing something?
Foxcatcher – Review