Monday, May 11, 2015

Foxcatcher


It's been a long time since I've written a movie review for this blog, but then again, it's been a long time since I've seen an actual movie. Sure, I saw the latest Fast and the Furious, the new second Avengers, and I'll probably see Jurassic Park, but Foxcatcher was the first time all year I've actually sat down on my couch and watched something that I actually expected to not be dumb. And it wasn't. In fact, it was pretty brilliant.

I heard of this movie when it came out, or maybe when it was nominated for a bunch of Oscars, but I didn't pay much attention because I don't really see movies that much any more and I haven't watched the Oscars in probably fifteen years, but I recently heard about it again because it was mentioned on the episode of Rick Flair's podcast where he interviewed fellow professional wrestler Kurt Angle... and that's just about the nerdiest confession I've ever made. Anyway, Flair asked Angle about the film, because I guess it was a true-crime film about the US Olympic Wrestling team back when Angle was in training for the 1995 Summer Olympics. Angle, of course, went on to win the Gold and much fame and fortune as a champion in the WWE. Anyway, Angle spoke highly of this film, of its accuracy, and the power of its story.

And that's all I knew about it when I was at the Redbox intending to rent something else, but ended up with this one instead. I'm not going to say much more about the plot than that, because I think this is the kind of film where the less you know going in, the more you'll enjoy yourself when it's over. Although "enjoy" probably isn't the right word, since this is among the most depressing films I've ever seen, told with such an awkward coldness that you start to feel claustrophobic as the story unfolds. The easiest way to describe this film's mood is to imagine Fargo if it didn't have any jokes, and it was just about a bunch of awful people. And if I've being at all unclear, that's a compliment. Watch this one on a rainy day when you don't intend to have much interaction with other human beings.

Some of those Oscar nominations I mentioned went to two of the leads, Steve Carell and Mark Rufallo, but none to Channing Tatum who was the real star of the film. Who knew Channing Tatum wasn't just a good actor, but an exemplary one? I only ever saw him in that movie where he had to save the White House from terrorists. I guess that wasn't exactly the best vehicle for this talents, but he's certainly great here, and every bit as deserving as acclaim and accolades as his co-stars. But if you really want to see an engrossing acting performance, Steve Carell was pretty phenomenal.

If I have any complaint about this film, it's that the resolution of the story itself isn't exactly satisfying... but then, after watching I looked up the actual events, and they were never truly resolved so there you go. If you already know the story of John Du Pont and Foxcather, just don't go into this film hoping for answers, so much as a retelling of the events from one character's point of view.

And that's all I have to say about Foxcatcher. Don't see it because I recommended it, but because Kurt Angle and Rick Flair did too. Whoooo!

2 comments:

Justin Garrett Blum said...

I kind of want to see this, but even just watching the trailers is depressing.

so awkward said...

I'm not normally an "acting" guy. I prefer good writing and directing. But this movie is worth watching just for the performance by Steve Carell. He's just so weird and fascinating.