Foxcatcher | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


Riveting character study is a non-sensationalist account of a true story

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Even if you remember the bizarre news story that inspired it, Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher is likely to be deeply unsettling. Miller has a masterfulway of keeping us off-balance and uneasy, building a gradual sense of doom, whether we know what's coming or not.

In 1987, three years after wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz both won medals in the Olympics, monosyllabic,unemployed Mark (Channing Tatum) is living on ramen when he's invited to visit weirdo billionaire John E. du Pont (Steve Carell) at his massive Pennsylvania estate, called Foxcatcher. Du Pont, sociallyawkward, fabulously rich but friendless, fancies himself a wrestling coach, and he wants to sponsor Mark and Dave's training. Dave (Mark Ruffalo), the savvier brother, is skeptical, but Mark is all for it.

Thus begins a peculiar, often unnervingly funny bromance, complete with a training montage with a musical score that belongs to a falling-in-love montage. Mark is oblivious, and the film makes no overt references, but it's not hard to see why sexually repressed John might want to hang out with strapping young athletes. Mark becomes his pet Olympic medalist prize to show off at parties.

Du Pont can be dull or outrageous, pathetic or humorous, but Carell plays the man at all times as a real person. He loses himself in the role so well that I quickly got past the weirdness of his familiar voice coming from a face drastically altered by makeup and prosthetics to resemble the real du Pont.

Miller (Capote, Moneyball) keeps a quiet, deliberate pace, moving gently but steadily toward the climax. He lets the characters do what they do without making sport of them. The movie is often funny, yet not a comedy; it's disturbing, but not explicitly horror. It's a riveting character study, a non-sensationalist account of a true story that compels our interest even if we know the ending.


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Rated R · 134 minutes · 2015
Director: Bennett Miller
Producer: Megan Ellison, Bennett Miller, Jon Kilik, Anthony Bregman, Chelsea Barnard, Ron Schmidt, Mark Bakshi, Michael Coleman and Tom Heller
Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Hall, Guy Boyd, Dave Bennett, Brett Rice and Daniel Hilt
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What others are saying (12)

Creative Loafing Charlotte Foxcatcher: Wrestling with tragedy Rating: ***1/2 by Matt Brunson 12/19/2014
Inlander To the Mat Foxcatcher gives us Steve Carell in a creepy role, but not much else by Steve Davis 01/14/2015
Seven Days Foxcatcher by Rick Kisonak 01/21/2015
9 more reviews...
NUVO Review: Foxcatcher Foxcatcher doesn't answer any lingering questions about eccentric murderer John du Pont's motives — and that's a good thing. by Ed Johnson-Ott 01/07/2015
The Coast Halifax Review: Foxcatcher Great filmmaker, not much to say by Tara Thorne 12/18/2014
Portland Mercury Wrestler's Paradise Foxcatcher's true crime isn't tawdry enough. by Alison Hallett 12/17/2014
Gambit Review: Foxcatcher Ken Korman says Steve Carell’s dramatic turn as an eccentric billionaire is fascinating by Ken Korman 01/19/2015
Charleston City Paper Foxcatcher isn't a happy tale, but the journey to the end is well worth our time Bennett Miller, whose directorial credits include Capote and Moneyball, could be considered something of a fictional documentarian in evolution. by Tom Meek 01/14/2015
Creative Loafing Atlanta 'Foxcatcher' wrestles with the American Dream Steve Carell and Channing Tatum deliver award-worthy performances in Bennett Miller’s true crime drama. by Curt Holman 12/18/2014
Connect Savannah Review: Foxcatcher Steve Carell is scary-good, subjugating all traces of the familiar comic spark very much in evidence in his previous films. by Matt Brunson 12/16/2014
New Times San Luis Obispo Review: Foxcatcher Ken Korman says Steve Carell’s dramatic turn as an eccentric billionaire is fascinating by Ken Korman 01/19/2015

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