Monday, December 01, 2014


Guys, this is a weird thing to see an hour after Penguins of Madagascar.

That's all I've got aside from what's in the review.

Well, not quite. One thing I couldn't help but notice as the credits ran that Mark Schultz is a producer on the film. He also co-wrote a memoir that apparently was not used as the basis to the film, which seems unusual, although this has been in production for a while. It might be interesting to read, seeing how the film doesn't necessarily portray Mark badly, but as a pawn of sorts, with implications of abuse that goes beyond the psychological. I'm mildly curious as to whether this was something of a creation of the screenwriters or deliberately shunted to the side in order to keep it from overpowering the rest of what was going on.


* * * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 30 November 2014 at College Corner Theatre #3 (first-run, DCP)

A quick bit of research suggests that Foxcatcher, aside from seeming to compact its events into a shorter period of time, only hints at some of the more obviously bizarre parts of the story. In doing so, one might argue, the filmmakers get at a darker and more general set of truths. It almost doesn't need the punctuation at the end of its sentence.

It starts with Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), an athlete who won a gold medal for wrestling in the 1984 Olympics, barely scraping by three years later. He trains with his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) - also a champion and a highly respected coach - when he can, but the intensity of the training necessary is very difficult without other means of financial support. Enter John du Pont (Steve Carell), as in the chemical company, eager to support USA Wrestling and even willing to put Mark and some of the other members of the team up at his family's Foxcatcher Farm, where he's built a training facility. The thing is, eccentric rich guys often march to the beat of extremely different drummers.

Actually, it doesn't quite start with Mark; the film opens with imagery of how the du Ponts used the property before John converted it into an athletic center - breeding and training dogs and horses and using them to hunt foxes. It's no great leap to see John continuing that, in a fashion, only now the animals are men. There's something about the sport that suggests the animalistic, and director Bennett Miller plays into it, never humanizing the support by explaining the rules, instead initially focusing on Mark and his opponents bent over, circling each other, grunting and swiping at each other like wolves or bears. It's easy to see a man born to great wealth asserting dominion over those he sees as lesser beasts, even if he does feel fondness and admiration for them, the same way his mother (Vanessa Redgrave) does for her horses.

Full review at EFC.

No comments: