In Review: Foxcatcher on DVD

by Maryann O'Connor on 19/05/2015


Away from the hype of the award nominations and away from the strangeness of Steve Carell’s prosthetic facial features, the question is this: will the passing of time be kind to Foxcatcher? Upon viewing the film on the small screen, the answer would seem to be no. Wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) entertains the creepy advances of gadzillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) for the chance to be star of a wrestling team backed by the du Pont fortune on their so-called Foxcatcher estate. Things seem to be going well until du Pont insists upon Mark’s brother David (Mark Ruffalo) joining the team, at which point the stability of all three seem to be compromised.

Sure, Foxcatcher is an intense watch but deeper reflection reveals quite a few plotholes and failure to find a purpose. The key problem with the film is perhaps that while someone thought this saga was a good enough real life story to garner public interest, it was beyond director Bennett Miller and writers E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman to really develop Foxcatcher into the thriller or the family drama that it could have been. The only recognisable themes are  ‘the bonkers lives of white rich dudes’ and ‘sibling rivalry’ but neither of these was explored beyond the surface. A shallow drip feed of information about why du Pont is so creepy ends with his simplified portrayal as just another Monty Burns, swivelling aimlessly in his chair of privilege, wondering what pointless but violent thing he can spend his money on next.

That’s not to say that Carell, Tatum and Ruffalo gave bad performances: Carell is unrecognisable in gestures, voice or appearance and Tatum’s lower jaw jut must have been quite a trial to keep going. Ruffalo plays a role that he could manage in his sleep, the affable family man who just wants to get on with his life and teach wrestling.

The resolution, like much of the film, is borderline baffling and leaves a distinct feeling of dissatisfaction. The film is unlikely to become a classic but may have some kitsch value for those who like watching muscly men faff about in tiny pieces of lycra.

Extras: ‘Making of’ and some deleted scenes – one of which actually sheds some light on the relationship between the Schultz brothers.

Maryann has awarded Foxcatcher on DVD two Torches of Truth



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