Tuesday, February 10, 2015

FOXCATCHER (2014)



Directed By: Bennett Miller 
Written By: E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman 
 Cinematography By: Greg Fraser 
Editor: Jay Cassidy, Stuart Levy and Conor O’Neill 

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall, Guy Boyd, Brett Rice


The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

The film sets a brooding tone from the beginning, That feels like the air has been let out of the room throughout the film.

Seeing the humiliation and what life is like in his brothers shadow. it seems is already it's own tragedy of sorts. The story is told stilted yet matter of factly. While it seems each gesture even in behavior is presented almost under a microscope as it’s own action, As far as detail. Proving that in this film everything means something no matter how minor or even if dealt with in an off handed way. So that the film feels more like a clinical behavioral study with precision angles.

I give the director Bennett Miller accolades for sticking with his singular vision for the film. His style helps not only define the film but showcases his style as well. Which seems to be more clinical and observational.

In this film it is the deepest we have seen Channing Tatum ever and not quite surprisingly as good as 21 JUMP STREET. Where he proved he could be intentionally funny in a star making turn. Here he plays the type of character you would expect, but rather then a general type of character here the film gives him nuances and a certain depth. Not letting him fall and not letting him avoid and go into his bag of tricks as an actor. You feel him really being open and raw in this performance. Having to truly work more then ever before in this role.

At first Steve Carell seems like stunt casting in his role. He seems to be trying to break out of strictly comedic roles here. Unfortunately he seems to become more of a slave to the prosthetics used on him. It could also be that they were so distracting it's hard to pay particular attention to the complexities of his performance. Though as with many comedic actors he plays well in the confines of drama as serious, disturbed and strange. Almost feels like a real Life version of the strange comedic character Dan Ackroyd played in NOTHING BUT TROUBLE only not as loud.

Just as in DAN IN REAL LIFE and SEEKING A FRIEND AT THE END OF THE WORLD playing a vulnerable character suits him and he attacks the role with more relish. He tries harder. Taking it as a challenge and running with it. More than he does with comedy, which is his natural talent and more in his training. Not seeking to be one thing or play one note. Showing his range.

Mark Ruffalo is good though his character is already set up as a saint and martyr and he might be playing the person as he actually was. Good hearted and hat is what makes what happens so heartbreaking. Here he gives the character shades and is obviously important to the story. He seems to be the only character who has sense and is a sobering presence to the lunacy of the other main characters dementia of sorts.

Before filming a particularly dark scene, Bennett Miller made Steve Carell write on a piece of paper the thing that he hates the most about himself and then put it in his pocket. Miller told Carell, "Just have it right there, and know that it's in a place where, if I was a dick, I could just grab it." According to Miller, the result is the favorite thing that he has put on film.

Because the project took so many years to get off the ground, many actors were considered for the lead roles. Heath Ledger, Ryan Gosling and Bill Nighy were strongly considered for the lead roles in the early stages of production.

More is said in silence and behavior throughout the film. It's like a tragic buddy film. As soon the main characters relationship is close but ambiguous and never quite fully explained but suggestions are made silently as to the lengths of it.

The film never seems to drop it’s air of impending doom and tragedy. Setting a chilly mood and tone that never lets up and leaves things implied rather than explained.

Both characters are in a struggle to define themselves and impress family and others by standing on their own and defining themselves seperate from how others might see them. Most of all they seem desperate to prove it to themselves that they are more than the roles they have been offered in life. Then living up to it. Though one brings it about himself and the person, he is trying to prove himself to is more himself then his brother who is already proud of him. The other seems lost in his own mind to define himself not by actual talent but by what he is finds interest in. As he has been given mostly what he has ever wanted and seems not to be that successful at it. But he has a passion it seems to showcase actual work and/or talent.

Eventually the film leads to strained relations hat seems to revolve between the characters at different intervals that keep seeming to mount more and more that you can feel that it is going to surface and bubble over at some point.

When it does it does rather simply and more out of the blue rather then. A showcase or a spectacular scene. I guess it's like the facts just random and ordinary.

According to Bennett Miller's comments at a screening, a rough cut of the film was more than four hours long.

Steve Carell claimed that according to director Bennett Miller's wishes there was no joking between takes, and he did not socialize with the co-stars after work.

According to Steve Carell the real John DuPont was known for even more outlandish behavior than what is shown in the film, but he and director Bennett Miller wanted his madness to be gradually revealed to the audience.

A third act of deep resentment festering until a final act that you know is coming. Though still feels surprising when it happens and is just as senseless in the act as in the reasons.

The film feels down trodden. It is based on a true story and real events. Though it keeps the story singular. It also makes the film feel barren and an island in of itself.

Too much of the people who love the good life. Go to extremes to feel something new and different. That registers and that they grant in control of to feel accomplishment in themselves. Here no one gets what they set out for, and their grand plan seems to doom them all to places that might have been inevitable but none planned to end up that way.

It's a tragedy that feels like a boom as it sets the mood. It seems to be more about what is written between the lines though tells you the story fully as it happens. Nothing feels hidden.

The film ultimately comes off a s a bit disappointing as we wallow but are given hints yet no definitive answers. The film immerses us in the drama and relationships yet still keep them in shadows a bit.


Grade: B

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