With Steve Carell and Channing Tatum as leads, you'd expect this to be a comedy through and through. Steve Carell has always been a top-tier Hollywood funny man. While over the past few years Channing Tatum has proven he's got some of the best comedic timing in the business. You would be quite wrong in this assumption though, as 'Foxcatcher' may be one of the darkest bio-pics I've ever watched. Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, alongside Mark Ruffalo and director Bennett Miller ('Capote' and 'Moneyball'), have made one of the better films to come out this year.
'Foxcatcher' follows the story of Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) in the years following his gold medal win at the 1984 Olympics, alongside his brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who also won a gold medal, both in wrestling events. Mark is training for the 1987 World Championships, when he receives a call one day from John du Pont (Steve Carell), millionaire owner of a chemical company. du Pont offers Mark a chance to train with him for Worlds (and subsequently the 1988 Olympics in Seoul) and make some money that he desperately needs. Mark jumps at the chance, but Dave (who was also invited) turns down the opportunity. Eventually, the two need Dave's training more than ever, as both men are spiraling. Culminating in one of the most horrific tragedies that no one ever saw coming.
This is one of the slowest and most chilling films I've ever watched. I haven't felt quite so uncomfortable watching something, as I did during some of the scenes in 'Foxcatcher.' This is a heavy film, laced with the struggles over personal demons and the way money and not being accepted, really can corrupt someone. Steve Carell's most sombering role yet, isn't at all deterred by his make-up and cosmetic effects. They actually look really good. Carell gives a fantastic, yet borderline disturbing, performance as John du Pont. The slow roll is in full effect as you start to put two and two together throughout this film. This bio-pic and thriller, will make you gasp, if you let it suck you in and stay with it. Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as The Schultz Brothers are quite fantastic in their own right. Tatum and Carell's scenes are powerful, dark and even filled with dread at times. When Ruffalo is in the mix, you get an odd air of hope mixed in to everything going on. The emotions in this are off the charts and the three leads convey it all expertly. The film is shot beautifully. Sweeping shots of the home and landscapes look great. The sets and overall look of the film is great as well. The dark tones throughout never make anything seem too happy. Even the training scenes in a brightly colored and vibrant facility, seem dull and lifeless, almost like a boot camp. The sets, houses and landscapes are done remarkably well. The score adds to all this, as the piano pieces they use throughout bring a constant sense of anxiety. All of this may seem like I'm taking this in as a horror film, in a sense it could be, but the feel of 'Foxcatcher' was never really happy-go-lucky in the slightest. 'Foxcatcher' is a long watch to boot, clocking in at just under two hours.
There's a lot of drag at times in this film, that's the main reason I couldn't get all the way behind it. It just feels like a ton of the scenes go on for too long. That always hurts films in my book. Otherwise, 'Foxcatcher' is one of the darkest, and best, that 2014 has to offer. The story of this bio-pic thriller is top notch, the acting between Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo is outstanding, while the overall quality of the film is superb. 'Foxcatcher' is an uncomfortably great film that you should really give a chance.