Foxcatcher will catch some Oscars!

SUE’S REVIEWS: FOXCATCHER

“Foxcatcher” is a 134 minute R-Rated Biography/Drama directed by Bennett Miller starring Steve Carell (John E. du Pont), Channing Tatum (Mark Schultz), Mark Ruffalo (David Schultz), Sienna Miller (Nancy Schultz) and Vanessa Redgrave (Jean du Pont).

This movie is inspired by the phenomenal story of the eccentric, wealthy paranoid schizophrenic, John du Pont, and his relationship with world-class wrestling brothers, Mark and David Schultz. John E. du Pont, one of the wealthiest men in America, had a dream to sponsor the USA Olympic wrestling team at his sprawling estate in Delaware near Valley Forge. He recruited 1984 Olympic gold medal winner Mark Schultz to help him organize and train the wrestling team for the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Mark is eager to get out of the shadow of his older brother, David, with whom he has a competitive and complex relationship.

At first du Pont is not able to entice Dave to his estate but he eventually does with a huge financial incentive. The subsequent relationship and interactions involving du Pont, Mark and Dave result in a tragic turn of events with deadly consequences.

“Foxcatcher” is a deep, dark and disturbing psychological thriller. I was very familiar with the story and its deadly scenario but I will not reveal the ending in my review for those who do not know what happened. This outrageous true story and Steve Carell’s incredible transformation and acting are better than the movie itself but it is still a very good movie and worth seeing. It grabbed my attention from the minute it opened until the final scene. “Foxcatcher” (the name of du Pont’s estate and wrestling team) dramatically shows the rewards and limitations of tremendous privilege and wealth. The casting and acting are uniformly terrific, including Vanessa Redgrave as du Pont’s judgmental and overbearing mother. There is no doubt that Steve Carell will be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor (which I think will be the most difficult category to predict the winner this year). Tatum and Ruffalo are also outstanding in what may be their best performances ever. I love the authentic 1980’s costumes and sets and the lighting and photography throughout the film.

Although I love "Foxcatcher", I have a few minor criticisms. I think there should have been a prologue to introduce the story, and more time-reference points during the course of the film. Some key events are alluded to but glossed over (i.e. the results of the 1988 Olympics). The first 30 minutes drag and the film could have been slightly shorter. I did not like the abrupt ending and wish they had included more facts in the epilogue. “Foxcatcher will be nominated for, and may win, several Oscars and I give it an 8.5 on the ABBONDANZOMETER (Scale of 1-10).

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