Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave

Rated: R for some drug use and a scene of violence.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: November 14, 2014 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

An unsettling, richly provocative true crime drama comes from an assured Bennett Miller (Moneyball,Capote) allowing Steve Carell (very different from his recent Disney movie role) to consummate a vicarious, repressed millionaire who always gets what he wants.

In an unhurried, extremely well-observed Foxcatcher also starring Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave, Carell isn't easily identifiable at first due to prosthetic work and receding hair line as John E. du Pont. Du Pont, a shrewd financier, has a weird, simmering streak, but on the surface is mainly agreeable to those privy to him except for Redgrave's dubious, cantankerous matriarch.

Tatum is in fine form as Mark Schultz, younger sinewy brother of Ruffalo's Dave, an Olympic wrestling champion, whose naivety fits well into du Pont's avarice and scheme as the talented young sportsman is positioned well for Seoul's 1988 Olympics. It means a distancing from Dave to settle in at the titular training camp, a bucolic retreat.

The way Miller works with his editor and very capable technicians keeps the viewer unbeknownst to a riveting conflict, a triangle of sorts as Dave makes his way to the camp with his wife (Sienna Miller, in a less emphasized role, and in Clint Eastwood's upcoming American Sniper) and family. It doesn't help that Mark has an unusually close (read: uneasy) bond with his new guide that his brother wishes to water down to say the least.  But, for those who know what actually came down, there can only be a dire conclusion regarding a man who becomes more unapproachable and fitful.

"Foxcatcher" may have trouble reaching an audience based on the difficulty on trying to get a read at times on Carell's intrepid turn, but he is well-matched by Ruffalo, and especially a vivid Tatum. It takes its subject with panache in a way that is truly mesmerizing.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Foxcatcher        A-   A-                  A- 
A Top Ten for 2014
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