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Review: Foxcatcher 

Great filmmaker, not much to say

click to enlarge foxcatcher-1.jpg

The ol’ “let’s put on a nose and an accent and do some Acting” thing worked for Nicole Kidman in The Hours, but Steve Carell achieves mixed results in Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller’s very tense, oddly inert retelling of rich weirdo John DuPont’s obsession with Olympic wrestling. Watch the trailer with someone and they’ll gasp when Carell’s name comes up; in some of his scenes the spectre of Michael Scott looms very large and they’ll laugh. The tricks pull you out of the movie. Olympic wrestling in the ’80s is not the most lucrative job, as medallists Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother David (Mark Ruffalo) have discovered. So when DuPont, a bajillionaire, offers to coach Mark to gold at Seoul in 1988, he jumps at it. Problem being, DuPont has no wrestling skills or much to take seriously, except his money and the gun he totes around. On just his third feature, Miller has already proven to be an excellent filmmaker, stoic and solid and not afraid of a laugh—both Capote and Moneyball wring all kinds of emotions out of you—but Foxcatcher is a different beast, just sitting there with nothing to say. With Mark caught between his good-hearted sibling (Ruffalo is the best thing here) and his manipulative sugar daddy, it all has to end badly, and it does. But it’s hard to feel anything about it at all.


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