Friday, February 20, 2015

Foxcatcher (2014)

Director: Bennett Miller
Writers:  E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Cast:       Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul- a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

Well, fuck me that was an intense watch! There is practically not a single bright moment in the film and it is grave from start to finish. The only laughs you will get is if you find some dark comedy in the antics of Mr. John du Pont who has the pretension of being a coach and mentor to the wrestling athletes he is taking care of by providing infrastructure and money. I did find some of it funny because I was reminded of the Oligarch asshole, Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea football club and treat it as his dildo. I am not really in a position to say whether Mr. Abramovich fancied himself as a coach but there were some rumors of him getting involved in the dressing room and imposing expensive players he bought on to the coaching staff. Sorry for digressing. 

An almost unrecognizable Steve Carell plays the role of millionaire benefactor and Ruffalo and Tatum plays the older brother and younger brother respectively. There is some sibling rivalry going on between the brothers with the older one being a family man involved with coaching now after retiring and the younger one being a loner with short temper. This kind of leads to Mark (Tatum) joining the millionaire's facility first and he is the only medal prospect in the Team Foxcatcher. He develops a relationship with the millionaire which gradually erodes leading to David (Ruffalo) also joining the facility. During all this, we are shown why the benefactor is behaving in this manner and it is because of his uneasy relationship with horse race loving mother who owns a stable. She finds Wrestling to be a low sport and the upbringing that she gave to her kid might have very well created all kinds of insecurities in him. I kind of knew someone was going kill someone in this film based on whatever tidbits that I have read about it but didn't know who was going to do it. The ending kind of came as a surprise to me. The great thing about the film is that you really don't find the action to be out of character which is a testament to how well the characters and their motivations been established over greater than two hours running time. 

Overall it is a great watch despite it being very depressing. I have seen all three feature films done by the director Miller with other two being Capote and Moneyball. This one is much more closer to Capote than Moneyball and similarity with the latter is limited to the sporting background of its characters. Miller won the best director award for it at the Cannes. *Spoiler Alert*. Credit to America that the status of being from the wealthy Du Pont family doesn't absolve you from a grave crime that you commit. John du Pont died in 2010 while serving time for the murder. I really wonder what would happen if it happened in India. Something similar happened in Kerala recently for which the investigation is going on but I am not really hopeful about justice being served. Kerala Story

Rating: 4/5