Score: 6.7 out of 10.
Based on a true story, Foxcatcher is about the wrestling Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz, and his older brother David Schultz, and their encounters with multimillionaire John du Pont as they train at his Team Foxcatcher facility while preparing for the 1988 Olympics.
Overall, I thought the movie was decent. I wanted to like this film very much as it was one of my most anticipated dramas of the year but I admit I felt very underwhelmed as I exited the theater doors. I could see what the director was trying to accomplish and there are a lot of positive aspects to this film that, if other parts were done differently, could’ve of possibly lead to a masterpiece. Unfortunately, the negatives were too hard to ignore and I just can’t see myself saying that I actually liked this movie. However, for me, this movie wasn’t about the actual film making but rather the performances. Foxcatcher hands down has some of the best performances that I’ve seen all year and I can’t deny that even if I didn’t like the movie.
My main issue with the film is that it was too long and I found myself getting bored in the theater, which doesn’t happen often because I love movies so much. I don’t mind a long movie, especially if it’s good and keeps me intrigued, but too many times this film’s pacing was way too slow and had too many scenes where it was trying to show the audience something through no dialogue but rather one continuous shot or multiple rapid shots. This can be done effectively and I’ve seen it before in other films where I liked it but I literally almost fell asleep during some of these sequences. Also, in some of these scenes, it would show certain things that seemed important to the overall plot but there was no dialogue given to explain anything. This can also work sometimes but it was just too confusing and I felt like I was missing important elements of the story that I needed to understand in order for the film to be effective but I found myself being confused and I’m sure other viewers did as well.
I don’t blame the director, Bennett Miller, entirely for this because the story alone, I could imagine, was very difficult to adapt to screen since it’s based on true events and the whole concept is very dark and having to work with that must’ve been extremely hard. But that doesn’t mean half of the movie had to be boring as hell with barely any sound to keep the viewer’s attention. Although there were some beautiful shots during these boring moments, it wasn’t enough to keep me satisfied.
I mentioned earlier that the performances were the stand out of this film and that may be an understatement. While it seems like I’m bashing the movie, I can’t express how much I really enjoyed the performances, particularly from Steve Carell, who played John du Pont, and Mark Ruffalo who played David Schultz. Channing Tatum, who play Mark Schultz, was very good as well but I didn’t think he was as good as everyone expected him to be in this film. Before the movie came out, people were saying that this could be a breakout role for Tatum as a dramatic actor. While I feel that he has drastically improved, I don’t think this role was Oscar-worthy or anything of the such. However, Carell and Ruffalo’s performances were absolutely amazing and I do think they deserve some Oscar attention. Everyone knew Carell was going to be creepy in this movie from the trailers but oh my goodness he was scary as hell and he completely transformed himself and was almost unrecognizable. Ruffalo transformed himself as well and really embodied the character he was trying to portray. He was really believable on screen and this movie made me realize just how good of an actor he really is. I would be surprised if he doesn’t get a best supporting actor nomination at the Oscars.
As you can see I have high praise for the acting in this movie and ultimately it’s the thing that saved it from being horrible in my opinion. I’m not deliberately trying to bash this movie, I’m just giving my honest opinion and other than the performances, I did not enjoy it very much. With that being said, my 6.7 rating of the film is generous and it means I liked 67% of the movie and if it weren’t for the acting that probably would’ve went down significantly.
If you’ve seen Foxcatcher, do you agree with me? Am I being way too harsh or am I right in your opinion? If you liked the movie please let me know what you enjoyed about it, I would be really curious to hear a different perspective.