Foxcatcher is a good movie. It is well-mounted, with impeccable cinematography and production design. The acting is superb and is headlined by one of those showy disappearing-act performances that should gobble up attention and awards. The story handles some weighty themes with a deft and incisive touch. But you’re probably not going to see it, and that’s fine. It’s just one of those movies that’s good, but fails to gain any traction outside of cinephile circles.
The foundation of the film certainly sounds like something that could be a minor hit. An awards-baity teaming of Bennett Miller, who was Oscar-nominated for directing Capote, Megan Ellison, the Silicon Valley scion who has become Hollywood’s most consistent auteur-enabler over the past few years, and three actors–Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo–going serious after becoming A-listers with lighter fare. The story concerns the unhealthy relationships between John Eleuthère du Pont (Carrell), a socially maladjusted chemical fortune heir, and the pair of wrestling star brothers, Dave and Mark Schultz (Ruffalo and Tatum), who become drawn into his world. The film seems split into two halves, exploring how Mark grapples with his feelings of insufficiency and anger first against the aloof splendor of du Pont and then with the disappointing familiarity of Dave. [Read more…]