Andrea's Review of Foxcatcher
The master in question is, well, everyone involved in the movie “Foxcatcher” as far as I can tell. But the puppeteer is director Bennett Miller, who thanks to his work on films such as “Capote” and “Moneyball” has proven to be quite adept at making true stories mesmerizing. Film is a playground, and Miller is in top form, creating a slow burn that is genuinely unsettling even as it depicts ordinary life and events.
Mark Schultz is quickly swept away by du Pont and his isolated, decadent world, and they are both driven by fears and needs that neither man is aware of or acknowledges. But as time goes on, it all proves to be to much for Schultz, and the situation between the men becomes more volatile when Mark's older brother David, (the always marvelous Mark Ruffalo) also an Olympic athlete with a few medals of his own, is tossed into the mix. Mark has reliably felt overshadowed by his nevertheless supportive older brother, and du Pont is also threatened when his control of Tatum and the toxicity of their relationship becomes more apparent. It also doesn't help matters that David isn't nearly as malleable and easy to control as his more vulnerable younger brother.
It all simmers, then boils into the perfect storm, and the audience is right in the eye of it, a seemingly calm place, yet no less dangerous for the howling, roaring fury just out of sight. As such, “Foxcatcher” is less a movie about sports and the excitement of competition than a kind of crime drama, where the characters' fall from grace could echo the ebbing of American greatness, and where everything unfolds with a menacing normality that makes it all the more terrifying.
There is only one thing missing from the film, and that is a note of hope, or just life. The movie does unfold beautifully, but a few light moments could go a long way towards preventing the film's subtle (but very present) self-importance. Ultimately, “Foxcatcher” is a frigging movie about sweaty guys wrestling around on the floor with each other, so would it hurt for Miller to crack a smile every once in a while?