Star – Channing Tatum & Steve Careell
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 134 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 10 wins & 65 nominations
Oscars – 5 Nominations
Amazon – £4.00 DVD £7.00 Blue Ray
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Foxcatcher is based on the true story of wrestling brothers David and Mark Schultz, World and Olympic champions and Hall of Fame legends in America, who had the unfortunate luck to see their main funder and benefactor, John du Pont, suffer a mental breakdown. The case back in the mid 1990s shocked America and well documented over the pond, similar to that of the murder of Jill Dando here. The eccentric Du Pont was from one of America’s richest and oldest families and this story of class, money and mental head games saw the eccentric Du Pont become the only person in the Forbes 400 to ever be jailed in America for murder.
The yanks do so well in the Olympics as they play all the Olympic sports in college, Greco Roman and Free style wrestling set in stone on the high school rosta. If you like your men in leotards then rent this one just for that. I know most of the ladies like Channing Tatum in anything – or nothing. It also sees comic Steve Carell take on another serious role and extremely scary and good in it.
Steve Carell ... John du Pont
Channing Tatum ... Mark Schultz
Mark Ruffalo ... David Schultz
Sienna Miller ... Nancy Schultz
Vanessa Redgrave ... Jean du Pont
Anthony Michael Hall ... Jack
Guy Boyd ... Henry Beck
Brett Rice ... Fred Cole
Jackson Frazer ... Alexander Schultz
Three years after winning the 1984 Olympic title in Los Angeles, American Free Style wrestler Mark Schultz is training hard with his older brother David (Mark Ruffalo), also an Olympic champion, for the World championships. Out of the blue Mark gets a call from John De Pont (Steve Carrell), an extremely rich American patriot who wants to help train and fund Mark to be World Champion and beyond; hoping big brother David will join and train them later in the philanthropists sprawling Philadelphia estate, Foxcatcher Farm. David is happy with his family life and job and turns down the deal but Mark, down on his luck work wise, moves into the spectacular country estate to begin training with other American Olympic wrestling competitors at the Foxcatchers Club, Du Pont’s purpose built gym and facility on site.
At first it goes well and the rather strange and distant 50-year-old Du Pont getting the boys into shape. Du Pont wrestled at college and loves the sport but nowhere near this level. Du Pont singles out the dumb and uncomplicated lug Mark for special attention, calling him a friend and allowing him to address him as ‘Golden Eagle’ or The Eagle, what Du Pont’s friends call him. Mark, seeing Du Pont as a fatherly figure, goes along with it all as he has everything he needs to train and win, and more importantly, come out f his brothers shadow. But Du Pont begins to use Mark to show his elderly mother (Vanessa Redgrave) that he is something in the world and not just living off the family name and money, clearly an self-esteem issue with him, also writing speeches for the young Olympic Champion to ‘big up ‘Du Pont up at public events and dinners
When the swanky lifestyle and a line of cocaine or two begins to effect Marks training their partnership hints at asexual attraction and as there are no women in either man’s life you can only assume so. Mark is now going off the rails and both Du Pont and Mark need David on board to push the program forward to prepare for Barcelona so Du Pont offers David a deal he can’t refuse. But David’s arrival seems to threaten Du Pont’s relationship is some way and his behavior becomes more mental than mentor.
Foxcatcher strikes me as a film chasing the five Oscar nominations it got. It’s a classic awards film, released late in the year and heavily lobbied to get on the awards lists. Its way too long and very much an acting showcase and so everyone on their game, Carell and the near unrecognizable Mark Rufallo particularly good presenting their versions of the characters involved. Channing Tatum playing the anvil headed Olympic wrestler is obviously not a stretch.
Like Apollo 13, I did not know the Foxcatcher story and so ready to be intrigued. Nothing really happens for an hour as waves of melancholy and tension crash over you like a Radiohead guitar solo. Du Pont is clearly an interesting character who needs to justify his inherited wealth but you never really get a true picture of him here. Some liberties have been taken with the film and the real Mark Schwartz kicked up a stink about the homoerotic feel and being betrayed as having some sort of infatuation on Du Pont. He flatly denies that although did sign the wavers after seeing the film.
It’s certainly an original film but the narrative tone set tends to dull the story some. You would think the Americans knowing the story made this an even more predictable project and so not lorded but apparently not and the awards ceremonies deemed it good enough for the nod. But for its $24 million it bombed and pulled back just $19 million to date, perhaps a movie that suffered some now physical rental film is dead, the type of film people rent rather than go to the cinema for. If it was a choice between this and The Avengers: Age of Ulton on your smart TV film package there is really only one winner. I’m glad the film got made and an intriguing story but it didn’t go deep enough for me. I wanted to get into that twisted Du Pont psyche more than the wrestling and macho Tatum brooding. That class animosity we all suffer is a powerful thing to explore. It’s definitely a film Tatum fans will enjoy and well done for the director choosing Carell and trusting him to deliver a career changing performance. Buts it’s not one I would recommend for your one film a week treat. Wait for it on TV is my advice, very much a Film4 movie.
Imdb.com – 7.1/10.0 (92,358votes)
Rottentomatos.com –% critic’s approval
Metacriitc.com – 81%critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin Film Year Book –
-Story of Foxcatcher-
A look at the real story of events and the trail that followed as Du Pont became the only ever person in the Forbes 400 to be jailed for murder. He died in prison in 2010.
If I tell you the original cut was 4 hours long you can guess how many outtakes and cut scenes there are.
Movie Talk –‘Foxcatcher pins the viewer to the mat with its emotionally bruising tale of class, ambition and the pursuit of sporting excellence’.
Screenwise –‘Plays like a slow-motion wrestling bout, the characters edging and circling each other, occasionally finding an emotional grip before sliding apart to re-assess the stakes and manoeuvre positions’.
Daily Mail –‘Dark, often unsettling material and the tone is ominous, almost suffocating so, from start to finish--but the performances are stellar’
Flick Filospher – ‘.A pensive and unsettling film that defies genre description and keeps you wondering just what the heck sort of film you're watching’.
The Baltimore Times –‘A bit too icy, distant, and austere to qualify as a movie one would "love," Foxcatcher is still a remarkably engrossing film’.
East Bay Express-‘We leave the theater with a queasy feeling, as if we've stayed too long at a peep show’
ABC Radio –‘An extremely cold, creepy and brilliant examination of the spookiest edges of the male psyche’.
As a movie buff of long standing it would be strange if I *DIDN'T* like the dedicated movie channels on Sky Broadcasting. Ever since Sky first came up with the concept of TV channels given over solely to showing movies I've been a willing subscriber.
Initially the Sky Movie channels were simply designated by number; Sky Movies One, Sky Movies Two, and so on. Now they are much more specific (and user friendly) and signify what sort of movie you might expect to find when you click on the listings. So you have Sky Premier (newish releases not too long out of the cinema) Sky Comedy (self explanatory), and various others.
One Sky Movie channel I find myself viewing more and more is Sky Movies Modern Greats. This channel, as its name would suggest, shows movies from the modern era (say roughly after about the mid-1960's) that Sky would deem to be "modern greats". Of course, whether or not *ALL* the movies they show are actually modern greats is a very moot point, as enjoyment of a movie is very much one of individual preference. But certainly they *DO* show some excellent old (and some not so old) movies.
For instance, this current month (January 2008) there are a couple of features that really appeal to me. The first is collection of movies starring the superb actor Tom Hanks, who has always been a personal favourite of mine. Seven of his best movies will be shown over a week long period, including such classics as Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle, etc.
Another outstanding feature they are showing this month is all five of the Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone. As his latest Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa, will also be showing on another of the Sky movie channels (Sky Premiere) this means that fans of the "Italian Stallion" will have a feast of movies to watch during the month of January.
Of course, if you're like me and like to watch good movies over and over again, then you have the opportunity to slip an old DVD into the DVD recorder and add them permanently to your DVD collection. (Great!)
One problem that you have with Sky Movies is that it *IS* a subscription only service, so if you want to avail of it you have to be prepared to part with some of your hard earned readies to either Sky themselves (satellite dish) or your local cable TV supplier in order to do so. Sky has various different packages available, so if you're interested then the best thing to do is to visit their website to find out their current offers. (They change on a fairly regular basis)
© KenJ January 2008
SKY MOVIES MODERN GREATS is another in the stable of Sky Movies channels, and is available on the Sky Digital satellite system in the UK. The channel features a wide range of movies - the movies coming up in January that I am particularly looking forward to are:
Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning elegy to the Western, which was his last role in a movie in this genre.
SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
The lovely romantic comedy that paired Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan - did you know that even though it is a romantic comedy the pair never actually kiss in the film?
Alan Parker's fantastic Dublin-set musical. This has some fantastic songs in it, many of which I usually sing at karaoke on Friday nights!
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN
Another brilliant Oscar-winner, this time directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks as an army captain leading a team of soldiers to rescue a young private whose brothers have all been killed in action.
I highly recommend SKY MOVIES MODERN GREATS to anyone who likes modern movies. It is available as part of the 'Movies Mix' package on Sky Digital.