Friday, November 21, 2014
Stone-faced Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his caring brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) are world-champion wrestlers. However, their winning of Gold Medals in the 1984 Olympics doesn't seem to change their life much. While Dave continues to coach wrestling to support his family, Mark is hanging on the poverty line day by day.
That situation is suddenly changed when Mark receives a call from one of American's wealthiest man—John du Pont (Steve Carell). John wants Mark to join the Team Foxcatcher at his extravagant estate where he imposes himself as the coach to train the team for the 1988 Olympics. Thirsty for vindication and eager for a new life out of the shadow of his brother Dave, Mark immediately jumps in and becomes John's loyal puppy.
But that unusual relationship doesn't last very long. The unpredictable and intimidating John decides to bring Dave on board as Team Foxcatcher's coach and discards Mark as his favorite. The trio's tango starts to step out of the daunting tune which is playing in their minds.
Winning the Best Director Award at this year's Cannes Film Festival, the director Bennett Miller brilliantly constructs and unfolds an incredible story, and meticulously stays focus on his characters. He composes each scene like a true master who is confidently striking each stroke on a huge canvas. With minimum effort, he is able to create the most intense atmosphere in the air and deepen the complexity of his characters. He never wastes time to explain some details of the story, either because the details lack the importance to the character development, or because the truth is simply unknown. The film clearly reflects his vision on how he wants to tell his story.
Steve Carell should take home an Oscar for his splendid performance as the creepy yet mysterious John du Pont. This well-known over-the-top funny comedian magically disappears in his chilling performance as a troubled soul. Nothing can be more frightening when he simply walks away without saying anything or when he blankly stares at you.
Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo are also exceptional in the film playing the Schultz brothers. Their wrestling movements are certainly convincing, but their acting off the wrestling mat is even more mesmerizing. It's heartbroken to see Channing Tatum has one only one brief smile in the entire film as Mark, as well as when Mark Ruffalo reluctantly spills out a few praising words about John. It's devastating to see how John can take advantage and manipulate the brothers with his wealth and his ego.