DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

FOXCATCHER (director: Bennett Miller; screenwriters: Dan Futterman/E. Max Frye; cinematographer: Greig Fraser; editors: Stuart Levy/Conor O’Neill/Jay Cassidy; music: Rob Simonsen; cast:  Steve Carell (John du Pont), Channing Tatum (Mark Schultz), Mark Ruffalo (Dave Schultz), Vanessa Redgrave (Jean du Pont), Sienna Miller (Nancy Schultz), Anthony Michael Hall (Jack), Guy Boyd (Henry Beck), Dave Bennett (Documentary Filmmaker); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Megan Ellison/Bennett Miller/Jon Kilik/Anthony Bregman; Sony Picture Classics; 2014)

"Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo all give their best film performances so far."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

This is a haunting crime drama based on a true story. The comedian Steve Carell is unrecognizable (prosthetic nose) and terrific in a serious role. Director Bennett Miller ("Moneyball"/"The Cruise"/"Capote") is marvelous in his direction of this hypnotic film. Writers Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye work out an arresting script. Miller has a field day piling on his riffs against the hypercritical world of the Olympics and privileged wealth. Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo all give their best film performances so far.

The painfully inarticulate nice-guy brute, the 27-year-old Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), was the winner of an Olympic gold medal for wrestling, three years ago, in 1984, but lacks the social graces to do something big with such a resume. He's over-shadowed by his socially tuned-in older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who also won gold for wrestling but has settled down with a great wife (Sienna Miller) and two peppy kids. John du Pont (Steve Carell), the Pennsylvania dwelling chemical plant heir from America's wealthiest family, offers the shy Mark living expenses and a place to train at his beautiful Foxcatcher farm for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Du Pont lives in the shadow of his horse- breeding wheelchair-bound mother Jean (Vanessa Redgrave), who disapproves of him.

After the wonderful long set-up, the film follows the real tragic events of a family unraveling and a murder taking place. While this occurs, Miller exposes how rotten things are in the unseen world of the trophy craven rich, who are seduced to be near and manipulate exceptional people. The result is an exceptional psychological thriller, one that's quite unforgettable and unique.

REVIEWED ON 1/27/2016       GRADE: B+

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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