Foxcatcher Blu-ray Review
You ever had something hyped up for you? Everyone I knew said FOXCATCHER had jaw dropping performances, a story with a lasting impact, and uneasy establishing shots followed by brusque dialogue. Then, by the time the Oscars rolled around, FOXCATCHER nabbed five Oscar nominations, although it seemed like it was last on the list for every category. After watching FOXCATCHER, I don’t believe I’m missing anything because it just didn’t wow me like I was lead to believe.
FOXCATCHER is a distressing tale that follows Mark (Tatum) and David Schultz (Ruffalo). They’re two Olympic gold medal wrestlers going down two separate paths in life. David has a family, whom he thinks about constantly and bases most of his life decisions around. Then there’s Mark, who eats Ramen alone in his department, constantly staring and thinking to himself. He’s contacted one day by the DuPont estate because John (Carrell), the wealthy heir to the vast DuPont fortune, wants the duo to train at his Foxcatcher Farms. He’ll be their “coach”, but more importantly, their sponsor as they prepare for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Mark seems to be the most verbal and intelligent of the brothers. That’s not a slam against David. Mark has more to risk and to lose if things don’t go well. He has a wife whom he loves and kids he couldn’t imagine living without. David on the other hand seems more focused on stepping out of his brother’s shadow and becoming a world renowned wrestler. He’s full of resent, but also filled with an unstoppable drive. His only problem is he’s self-destructive and at the flick of a wrist can be tearing apart a motel room.
Possibly seeing this brotherly resentment is John who milks the animosity out of David and merely brings up Mark when hoping to hurt, insult, or push David to the edge. He also wouldn’t mind Mark to join his makeshift wrestling team. It’s a plot that sounds simple, but tries to build up the drama by creating complex visuals that imply hateful anger, legacy buildings, and a few scenes that could be deemed as purposefully homoerotic. The intentions of the filmmaker are a little bit too vague and the “real life” story struggles throughout.
Scenes that feel important are simply skipped over and scenes with little importance feel dragged out. There’s only so much Channing Tatum can do through staring before you want David to simply speak, even if it’s a yes or no. There’s also only so much that Steve Carrell can do before you want John to just say something. My research into the real life events, which I knew nothing about, leads me to believe that the director tried to have us comprehend something that can’t be comprehended. It’s difficult to talk about FOXCATCHER without spoiling the ending, but if you already know the events, then you’ll be like me and feel puzzled by the structuring of the movie as a whole.
Bennett Miller who’s known for CAPOTE and MONEYBALL is nothing short of beautiful with his camera work. I will agree with one thing that everyone told me before watching this movie, the acting is tremendous, but there’s only so much the three men of this movie can do before FOXCATCHER inevitably runs out of steam when we reach the Seoul Olympics. It’s great to see three comedians and jokesters aim for something serious, and all of them play their characters with such little predictability until the very end. But this character study just missed the mark for me, especially when FOXCATCHER doesn’t know where to begin and how to end.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) Finer details come in through purposely uncomfortable close-ups and some of the scenes where you can’t recognize the heavy makeup that was applied to Carrell.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) For a movie that plays so heavily on silence and dialogue, the music comes off subtle, haunting, and well-placed. Nothing is lost on this audio presentation.
The Story of Foxcatcher (16:20): This feature encompasses nearly everything general question you might have about the movie: The real life story, Steve Carrell’s make-up, the direction by Bennett Miller. It even features some thoughts from Nancy Schultz which are interesting and I wish were in there own feature.
Deleted Scenes (5:13): There’s only two deleted scenes here. One is a conference call where David talks with some representatives about accepting DuPont’s money. The scene then ends with John driving a military vehicle into a pond. The second deleted scene involves Mark talking with David’s wife about a car. It’s a little difficult to figure out at what point these were suppose to be in the movie, but neither add any depth.