Running Time: 129 min
Director: Bennett Miller
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller
It is three-for-three for director Bennett Miller, because since he has moved from documentaries to theatrical motion pictures all of his films managed to get multiple nomination at the Academy Awards. Actors seem to benefit from his talent as well: "Capote" earned the late Philip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar, "Moneyball" elevated Jonah Hill from stoner comedies to credible dramas, and now, funny chap Steve Carell gets to show off his serious acting chops with his Oscar-nominated portrayal of real life wrestling coach John du Pont. Next to him star Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum as Olympia winners Mark and David Schultz.
But "Foxcatcher" isn't a sports movie at all. It is rather a study of three men's psyche and their distinct relationships with one another. Miller creates an unsettling atmosphere here: With slow pace and an almost non-existent score, a lot of scenes are simply unpleasant to watch, but it feels like this is absolutely intended. There is a constant tension even during dialogue that on paper and taken out of context would seem perfectly normal.
And this is where the actors come in, all of whom probably give the best performances of their careers so far. Rufallo plays the most relatable of the characters with an immense amount of heart and genuineness, and Channing Tatum is incredibly convincing in portraying this rather dull man, whom you'll still care about because Tatum manages to portray a whole lot of emotions just through his eyes and gesture. Both of them have a few wrestling scenes together and it becomes clear that these two have trained quite a lot. Swift, precise, and yet requiring great physical strength, their movements are exactly what I would imagine professional wrestling should look like, and at no point does it look like they're using a double. All this isn't necessarily what gives the movie its big creep factor, but it is their natural performances that give Steve Carell the perfect chance to play his disturbingly dubious John du Pont off of. He is unrecognizable in this role and gives such a brilliantly haunting performance that you feel uncomfortable due to his mere presence. His expression, his posture and his voice transform completely as he creates a tension that only grows bigger as the film progresses. It is not until the climax of the movie that you can gasp of relief, and relief is probably not even the right word for it.
So in the end, "Foxcatcher" might be the greatest movie you will never want to watch again, simply because it creates an atmosphere that works a little too well. Still, if you are a fan of psychological dramas or cinema itself it really is worth watching. Just don't choose it for a "fun little DVD Night" with your friends.
For Fans Of:
Raging Bull (1980)
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Click Here To Watch Trailer!
And check out my friend's review over at B.A.'s Screentest for a second opinion!