Foxcatcher is a biopic about olympic gold winner Mark Schultz and John du Pont, the billionaire who wants to train and sponsor Schultz as he furthers his wrestling career. However, Schultz very much relies on the training from his brother Dave, and in order for du Pont to get his wish, he must ignore his jealousy and feelings of inferiority and include Dave Schultz in what he hopes to be success. This true story has award-winning acting, and stunning makeup effects, but is hard to get through due to the extremely slow pacing.
Wealthy John Du Pont thought that money could buy him anything — victory, friends, and the approval of his mother. All of his deepest desires come to life with the help of Steve Carrell. Carrell is sure to win the Oscar for his portrayal of the psychologically disturbed coach. He is frighteningly good at times to the point where you are uncomfortable to even watch him. On the flip side, however, he is so good at slowly showing the struggles this man was going through within himself that you cannot dare to look away. Channing Tatum gives a great performance and really steps outside his comfort zone to play this part, but the true stand-out performance is Mark Ruffalo. There is one scene in particular that takes your breath away because he barely speaks and you still are just marveling at how he is knocking his role out of the park. While Carrell is definitely taking home awards for his performance, Ruffalo deserves just as much credit for what he did on screen.
The actors incredible performances are aided by the fantastic makeup effects. The two wrestlers have the cauliflower ears, and Channing Tatum’s nose and jawline are skewed in a way that makes him a totally new person. The true masterpiece though is Steve Carrell. He is aged throughout the movie and he is made to look round and small. It is, at times, hard to look at him during closeups because it is that creepy to see his transformation. The effects are wonderfully detailed and are reason enough to check out the film.
While there are very few problems with the film, the issues it does have are significant ones. The major problem with his movie is the pacing. The film is just as long as many movies these days, running a little over two hours, but it feels as if it lasts forever. It moves along, but at a painfully slow pace. There is too much time where nothing is really happening and you begin to get bored. You notice small changes in character and are waiting for someone to act on them, but it feels as if you are waiting for a lifetime. Foxcatcher had the ability to be much more captivating, but the timing just brought it down. On a related note, many of the scenes had notes with what year something was taking place. Most of the film takes place in 1987 and 1988, during Olympics and the World Championship for wrestling. However, there is an eight year time jump in the film that is not documented like the other year changes. In fact, it is placed in a way that seems like it is just the next season and not almost a decade later. The only giveaway that a large amount of time has passed is the aging of Carrell’s facial features. The only way to know what year those events take place in is to look it up. It also felt as if they spent so much time dragging out the two to three important years, and then did not feel the eight years leading up to the climactic scene were necessary.
Foxcatcher is definitely worth the watch, especially since it will be nominated in several categories. The acting from all three leading men give in depth portrayals of the people they depict and they have been physically transformed by makeup that will impress each and every audience viewer. It is just the pacing that really kills the movie and will make you wish you slept more before you sat down to watch it.