Review: Foxcatcher

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The beginning of a new year brings with it the awards season, as the film industry recognises the best it has to offer. One movie that is hotly-tipped for success in 2015 is Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher”.

Based on true events, Foxcatcher follows the story of Olympic gold medal winning wrestlers and brothers David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), who are invited by wealthy heir John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to his estate to help form a team to train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However, the union leads to an unlikely (and ultimately tragic) relationship between the eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers.

Despite being best known for their comedy acting, Steve Carell and Channing Tatum give exceptional performances in their respective roles. The former looks almost unrecognisable in his transformation, not just aesthetically, but the way in which his cold eyes gaze into the distance and his fazed words, which are delivered in a monotone voice.

It’s a long way from his previous roles, as Carell represents a frightening version of the American dream, playing a character that will do anything and everything to achieve his aspirations, all the while looming in the shadow of his disproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave).

Channing Tatum also excels in his role as Mark Schultz. As well as living up to the intense physicality of the role, Tatum displays a complex range of emotions throughout, especially during a hotel room scene following a heavy defeat in an important match. Likewise, Mark Ruffalo also gives an outstanding performance. His character is an unselfish man with a huge heart and who puts his family first – an excellent juxtaposition for John du Pont.

However, in spite of the incredible acting performances and well-written script, the main problem with Foxcatcher is its lack of energy. Director Bennett Miller (“Moneyball”, “Capote”) attempts to replicate his previous achievements, though fails to add any life into the film, leaving a consistently dull tone that will result in many viewers switching off. While the final act is a tense affair, it’s over within a few minutes and feels somewhat anti-climatic in the grand scale of things.