Foxcatcher, unfortunately, is a true story. It's the story of Olympic gold medalist, Mark Shultz (Channing Tatum), a man who wants nothing more than to be the best wrestler in the world. For years now he's been training with his brother David (Mark Ruffalo) and it's been working out well for them, but it's forced Mark to live in his brother's shadow. That's when Mark receives an invitation from millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell). He asks Mark to come and train with him as a part of the Foxcatcher wrestling team, which Mark accepts, not realising the psychological strain it will later put on him.
I have been anticipating Foxcatcher for many months now. I knew the true story in brief, but not in too much detail. When the first trailer dropped, and we're talking about a very very short trailer here, it wowed me. I was excited, and I have been for a long time. After a lot of anticipation and a lot of hype, I'm happy to announce that Foxcatcher not only lived up to my expectations, but it blew them out of the park too. It's a dark and unpleasant movie, but it's the type of movie that I love. I'm not ashamed to admit that it's a film I'd be more than willing to come back to as well, which is something not a lot of people seem to be saying and that's fair enough. I can completely understand where people are coming from when they say they never want to see this film again as it's not a joyous experience, but it's undoubtably worth watching at least once.
The way director Bennet Miller manages to tell this horrific story is admirable in its own right. This is Miller's third feature film and it's truly his best work yet. He's quiet and slow in his approach, resulting in the more intense moments having a much greater impact on me. It's not a very loud film, nor a very fast film, but this helps to let everything build up. There's lots of long pauses and uncomfortable silences, but it's done for the greater good, and it works too. Everything becomes all the more impactful and unexpected, even if you're aware of what's to come, like I was.
The three leads, Tatum, Ruffalo and Carell, are all in their prime here. Each one of them gives an Oscar worthy performance, and each one of them deserves that Oscar, even if only two actually received nominations. Tatum is an actor who constantly surprises me and here, he's done it once again. His character is clearly dealing with many psychological issues, both brought on by his childhood and by Carell's character, and the way Tatum portrays him is beyond phenomenal. It will define him as an actor, I can tell you that.
While Tatum is impressive and Mark Ruffalo is brilliant, although he always is, it's Carell who's the most astonishing, and not just because of the amount of makeup and prosthetics put onto his face. He gives a mesmerisingly disturbing performance that is bound to send shivers down your spine. His performance is so unlike anything he's ever done, making it easily his best performance to date. He's a troubled psychopath and no matter what situation he's in, Carell's performance will put you on the edge.
It's the film's finale that I really want to talk about here, but I'm going to have to do so without giving away what happens, which should be tough. I knew how this film was going to end, yet it didn't matter. When the ending comes, and you'll know it's the end the moment it starts unfolding, it will leave your jaw hanging. It's just so intense and unexpected, and it packs quite a punch as well. Everything suddenly goes from insanely slow to unbelievably fast, and you're trying to sink everything in, but it's just not working out, but I mean that in the best way possible. It's a realistic and rather haunting approach to the situation and the most disturbingly brilliant way to wrap up this already disturbing movie.
To sum up, Foxcatcher is a slow moving and rather quiet film that takes you through this psychologically haunting story with some brilliant direction and a career defining performance from Tatum as well as some career best performances from Carell and Ruffalo.