There is no end of commendation for a film that can continuously maintain a singular note of tension without boring its audience. If there was ever a film immediately after which a massage should be scheduled, then Foxcatcher is it. It was watched with my shoulders up to my ears and a furrow between my brows.
The film charts the impact of Mark and Dave Schultz, Olympic gold medal winning brothers, meeting and engaging with paranoid-schizophrenic millionaire James Du Pont. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo play the part of the Schultz brothers, with Steve Carell stepping into the role of Du Pont.
A pivotal element to the success of this film is the actors’ ability to embody their characters, and the transformation of the three male leads is wonderful to watch. Channing Tatum, who is the opening focus of this film, was initially shocking to recognise. There was an alteration of not only his speech, but his stance and body language too that sets him apart from his previous roles. Mark Ruffalo, with an altered hairline, gives a fine performance but the stand-out actor is undoubtedly Steve Carrel.
Anyone familiar with Carrel’s work would have likely pegged him as a solely comic actor and could have had reservations about his ability to ground himself in a role such as this. It is very hard to be both amazed and terrified by a character yet these are the emotions he inspires in Foxcatcher. Watching him in action is an absolute justification for the Oscar buzz surrounding his role in this film.
Unfortunately the film is centred around the almost pointless nature of the plot. Ironically Foxcatcher is based on a true story; if one gave in to the notion of everyone’s life story baring some importance, then this comment might be deemed offensive. Nevertheless viewing this film in no way inspired a desire to explore the lives of the Schultz brothers or even the Du Pont family. Foxcatcher must be viewed simply for its execution. It is Bennet Miller’s construction of events and the sustained impact on the audience that make this a truly great film.