OK I admit I am late to the party on this one but I missed Foxcatcher’s fairly limited release in the UK and have only finally viewed it on DVD. But it was worth the wait.
It’s a uniquely paced thriller in that it’s almost plotless. The dynamics and emotional drivers of all the main protagonists, two wresting brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum) and their errr ‘mentor’ (Steve Carell), are never revealed. It’s sinister from start to finish but it’s never entirely clear why it’s sinister particularly if, like me, you don’t know the story that it’s based on.
But suffice it so say the direction by Bennett Miler (two Oscar nominations under his belt now for this and Capote) is outstanding and grips you from start to finish, despite the fact that very little of any consequence actually happens.
There’s an elephant in the movie theatre with this film. And that is homosexuality. Lots of men getting sweaty and grappling with one another on the floor is not the point. It’s the unstated relationship between the two main characters that is.
Is the relationship between billionaire wrestling freak Du Pont and Schwartz homosexually charged? Maybe yes, maybe no. Du Pont may wish to be seen as a father figure but it goes much deeper than that in my view.
Is the drug taking and drinking that Du Pont introduces to his Olympic Gold medallist charge some form of seduction? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Is the relationship that Du Pont ‘enjoys’ with his mother also related to his sexuality (Oedipal almost)? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Certainly it has enraged the real life Schwartz who clearly is not in any way inclined to the male sex but that’s not the point. Miller has created a movie that is undeniably homo-erotically charged and that is not in any way a criticism.
The movie is a beautiful enigma wrapped up in a conundrum and all the better for it.
But ultimately what you are left with is the extraordinary performances of Tatum and, especially, Carell in a career defining outing that will surely be hard for him to beat.
And one last point; the outstanding soundtrack by Rob Simonsen is a pretty fundamental contribution to the whole mood of the piece.