Saturday, November 29, 2014

Catching Foxcatcher: NOT Recommended

We've been meaning to tell you about the new Stave Carrell-Mark Rufallo-Channing Tatum film Foxcather.

The film, directed by acclaimed director Bennett Miller is based on the true, grizzly story of the murder of championship US wrestler Dave Schultz who along with his brother, Mark Schultz became part of the Foxcather wrestling team funded by John duPont of the monied Delaware family that made its fortune in gunpowder and chemicals.

We've really been meaning to tell you about this movie which details how Mark Schultz (Tatum) forms a relationship with du Pont (Carrell), as they train for the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances as both men feel inferior to Mark's revered brother, Dave (Rufallo).

Hanging over the whole thing is the heavy, sweaty scent of homoeroticism.

In his scenes Carrell wears a fake nose that really looks more like a proboscis or a snout. He's a cross between Barbra Streisand and Cyrano de Bergerac. It's just this side of grotesque. And Carrell talks very slowly - not necessarily deliberate, just slowly.

You have to wonder why these guys can't figure out that for all his money and feigned power duPont is basically nuts and possibly, very dangerous.

As for the hulkish Tatum, he mopes through his scenes with his knuckles almost scraping the floorboards. He says very little and when he does talk he mumbles. Someone has told him to walk and move almost like Sasquatch, methodically with his eye down and his shoulders hunched. It's not that it's scary, it's just creepy.

Ruffalo's character (Dave) is the closest to normal that we have in this film and he's actually somewhat likeable. So, of course you know he's the one who will be killed in the end.

And since it's all based on a sensational crime case that everybody knows about, the whole long, slow, dismal movie is a tedious waiting game with the murder hanging over every incongruous move and every troublesome detail.

Like we said, we wanted to tell you all about this film when it first opened but we didn't have the heart to do,it. The movie had such great advance buzz and it was wildly hailed at the Cannes Film Festival. The anticipation was high.

And Carrell and Tatum are two of our favorite actors. But their talents are really wasted here - and so is Rufallo's. The characters are really never developed. We don't really know why duPont is as deranged as he is. We're not sure why Mark seems so lost, isolated and damaged. And there's nothing to tell us why his brother is not equally troubled. And while the brothers seem to genuinely love one another there are times when their literal, brutal, physical bouts take an enormous toll on them.

So, the film is not just a downer but it's a bummer, too.

Unless you have a special interest in the sport or the crime, skip it.

No comments: