Saturday, January 24, 2015

Foxcatcher Review

Foxcatcher was one of my most anticipated movies from the year 2014. I first heard about it back towards the end of 2013 and the premise intrigued me quite a bit. But then the movie played this annoying little game of avoid Adam as much as possible. It premiered in film festivals throughout 2014 that I of course were impossible for me to attend. It finally hit theaters back in November, but it only stayed in very limited release. While a lot of the other Oscar-contending movies finally decided to show their face in theaters near me, Foxcatcher teased the freaking heck out of me and it drove me insane. It just refused to show up in a theater near me. But FINALLY all my waiting was rewarded as it got a wide release on the weekend the Oscar nominations were announced, which was a full two months after it first showed up in limited release. I did actually see this before making my end of year movie lists, and while it didn't quite show up on the best movies list, I did think that this was a good, solid film.

What is Foxcatcher about? Ummmm... I'm going to tread very lightly on that simply because I knew the whole movie going into it. The thing is I didn't think I knew the whole movie. I thought there was going to be a lot more than what I was told or read, but there wasn't. So that actually dampered my experience. I don't like knowing what's going to happen at the end of a movie before I go see it. It takes away the intensity and the experience in my opinion. Moral of the story is that I'm not going to tell you much about it. I also really hope I haven't accidentally spoiled the movie for you within the last year or so. If I did, sorry! What I will say is that this movie is about two brothers, Mark and David Schultz. Both have won Olympic golds in wrestling and the 1988 Olympics in Seoul are coming, so they are training for that. Mark jumps on an opportunity presented by multimillionaire John du Pont to come join Team Foxcatcher, which is essentially a facility to help train and prepare wrestlers.

If I'm being honest, I'm sad to report that the storyline of this movie didn't captivate me as much as I was hoping it would based on the premise that intrigued me so much. I suppose part of that is due to me knowing exactly what happens, but yet I've seen many historical movies where I've known exactly what happens that I've still loved, so that can't take the whole blame. It's just that there's not a whole lot that happens. It's a slow-moving movie with a ton of really intense build up. But there comes a point where I was hoping the movie would stop building up and start doing something, but it really doesn't until the very end.

What saves the movie, though, are three absolutely excellent performances by our trio of stars, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum. Let's start with Steve Carell. The man is a really funny comedian. I'm sometimes hit and miss with his movies, but in general I have a very positive view of him as a comedian. However, I don't actually recall seeing him in a serious role. If I have, it's at least something that doesn't happen very often. This performance by him in Foxcatcher puts him in a completely new light. The man is an absolute creep in this movie. Sure, part of that is due to his makeup, but for the most part you have a comedian acting like a crazy, borderline-psychopath and it's incredible. I love it when an actor or actress can step outside his or her box and do an excellent job at something he or she is not used to doing. That is Steve Carell in this movie and that deserves a ton of applause.

However, with all that praise in mind, there's another member of our trio that I was even more impressed with and that is Channing Tatum. Tatum is every girl's pretty boy and has earned himself a solid reputation as a comedian as well. The label of a great actor is something he's not typically given, though. But holy cow! While Carell gives a creepy performance that is partly due to makeup, Tatum gives a very passionate, very emotional performance. I've never seen him give this strong of a performance and because of this, if it were up to me, I would've given the best actor nomination to Tatum instead of Carell. He deserves a lot more recognition for this than he is getting. In fact, he does such a good job that I am now looking forward to seeing him in more movies, which he has plenty of coming up, including next month's Jupiter Ascending, Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight at the end of the year, and a new recurring role as Gambit in the X-Men movies.

In the end, Foxcatcher didn't quite live up to all the hype that I gave it, but it was still a solid movie that is worth checking out. Steve Carell does a great job as the creepy John du Pont, but in my opinion Channing Tatum is the star of this movie and should've been the one to get the Oscar. Yes, Carell does deserve recognition, but I would've dropped him down to support actor. That would've been more fitting. Mark Ruffalo is the one that actually got the supporting actor nod and while he did do a great job himself -- he's very likable in the film as Channing Tatum's brother and is also very unrecognizable -- he's probably the slighter weaker member of the trio. But yes, Foxcatcher is finally in theaters nationwide, which means I really think that this is a movie you should give a chance if for nothing else to see Steve Carell and Channing Tatum go outside their box and pull off excellent performances in serious roles. My grade for Foxcatcher is an 8/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment