Foxcatcher - film with Steve Carrell playing John duPont

Saw this last night and was really impressed. The film is loosely based on a true story, it’s not clear how much of it is filling in the gap between what we know.

Carrell is playing a disturbing, pathetic, creepy man used to ordering people around and being able to buy people. Channing Tatum is the naive, vulnerable young wrestler who DuPont invites to live and train with him. Mark Ruffolo , Tatums older brother, comes across as a very affable, deeply caring man but assertive and can’t be bullied.

The film is deeply tense - I really liked the use of sound, and silence, which just enhances that tension. I felt very uncomfortable with Mark and DuPont’s relationship, it almost felt like grooming.

Maggie Smith has a small but very memorable part. When DuPonts mother comes into watch him wrestling, you’re just cringing at him putting on a show for his mother.

What did others think?

I loved it. I thought the makeup was amazing, Carell was genuinely creepy as du Pont, and the plot was horrifying. I didn’t remember any of the real story before I went in, and every step was a surprise to me. Well done, and I agree about the use of silence. It was really effective in developing suspense.

From start to finish, I though Carrell was a lock for a Best Actor Oscar. Turns out he’s in the running, but few think he’ll win (I believe Michael Keaton is favored – he was good, too, and people like comebacks – or maybe the guy who played Stephen Hawking).

Anyway, I agree with the OP – Foxcatcher is a great film. My wife and I talked about it a lot after we saw it. The instability of the triangular relationship among these three men – wow. I went into it only vaguely aware that there would be some sort if incident at some point, but at different parts if the film, any one of four possible acts felt most likely to happen (four of the six combinations among three men – two of them eliminated because the Ruffalo character was too stable to initiate an incident).

And…turns out Channing Tatum can act!

I saw it a couple weeks ago and I recognize that it was very well acted and directed, but it just didn’t appeal to me. They did a great job maintaining the cloying sense of dread that surrounded the whole story. The acting was very good; Mark Ruffalo was particularly excellent. But the whole story just felt kind of slow and plodding to me. I don’t really know what they could have done differently, it just didn’t really appeal to me.

BTW, DuPont’s mother was played by Vanessa Redgrave, not Maggie Smith.

I have only seen commercials for it, but I sat up straight and said I want to see that movie. Steve Carell has always struck me as an actor capable of much more than comedy. I’m so pleased that he has a strong dramatic role.

It was fine. Performances were fine. I just left the theater unclear on any reason for the movie to have existed.

Seems to have just been “hey, here’s some weird people and a weird thing that happened. Isn’t that weird?” Didn’t feel like I got any kind of insight into the people, time, or event. Or that it had anything more abstract point to make.

And it doesn’t have to if that isn’t what they wanted to do. But for me, the result was flat despite nothing being overtly wrong with it.

This was my reaction to it exactly.

I pretty much agree- Steve Carell gave a great performance, but I got the strong feeling this film was trying to use the John du Pont case to make some kind of larger point about American society… or about The Rich… or about Capitalism. And for the life of me, I couldn’t see what that point was.

The murdered guy was Kurt Angle’s coach, but looking at the imdb cast list there’s no Kurt Angle character in the movie. I find that lacking in integrity, intensity, and intelligence. It’s true! It’s damn true!

For like twenty minutes in the middle, we got to see How Bad Drugs Can Be!

Put me in the group that liked (and even loved) a lot of components of the movie, but who didn’t particularly care for the product as a whole. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it that hasn’t already been said. I keep typing up another paragraph to add on, and deleting it because I sound really down on what was a pretty good Carrell performance. Really, all I can say is that next year at this time, I’ll remember Foxcatcher as the movie that Ruffalo was really great in, but the hour and a half that didn’t involve either him or Redgrave kind of meandered pointlessly.

I remember reading about the murder all over the newspapers at the time, and I had never heard of Kurt Angle. Doing a quick search, I see he won at the Olympics after the time of the murder. That would be the first time he had any kind of name outside of hardcore amateur wrestling fans/community. So, at the time of the murder he wasn’t notable or any way really connected to the story.

As an aside, the guy played by Channing Tatum has public shared his opinions on the film and director. In fact, since his posts were “trending” on social media recently, I’m actually more aware of his thoughts on the film than the film itself.

I’m a Delawarean, so…

I remember the actual events vividly. I grew up going to the Delaware Natural History Museum, which was started by John E. duPont to show off his dead birds and shells (coincidentally, I was young enough not to understand how specimen collecting worked, and thought that only a real creep was capable of that…)

I think we thought his wrestling programme was a bit like his collecting. World’s most expensive stamp? Owned it. Olympic wrestlers? Owned them. Stamps, birds, shells, people. I was sixteen when the murder happened and was fascinated.

The cast is, of course, highly condensed. It wasn’t Dave that helped Mark after his binge eating, but another wrestler. But I think that set up the ‘love triangle’ of the film. One that has slightly homosexual overtones, but is really about brothers. Two brothers and a third man who desperately wants a brother/lover/mother and doesn’t know how to get them (They also omit DuPont’s siblings, his brief, annulled, abusive marriage and the fact his mother was dead by the time he started the wrestling programme.)

I loved the pacing, incidentally. Between the wrestling practice’s and the pacing, it felt almost like a modern ballet.

All this said, I come to the movie with a lot of prior knowledge. That shouldn’t be necessary for someone to enjoy the work.

I’ve also read Schultz’s book, and it seems to me that his major objection lies in the whiffs of there being homosexual attractions. He’s a member of the LDS and o can’t help but think that’s informed his reactions recently, as he initially praised the film.

i also live in the area and remember when the incident happened. john dupont was always considered oddly dangerous. he would set of those “can’t put my finger on it, but something is very wrong” bells in many people.

from what i’ve see in the teasers carrell really captures that odd character perfectly.

Even though I lived in neighboring Maryland at the time, I don’t recall hearing much about the incident at the time. So in reading about it after seeing the film, the thing that annoyed me most about the film was that it gives no hint that there was a period of about 6-7 years, leading up to the murder, in which Du Pont’s behavior was becoming increasingly eratic and paranoid. In the film, that makes the murder much more bizarre and inexplicable, and leaves the viewer searching for answers that existed IRL, but that the film doesn’t provide. As for obfusciatrist and astorian’s questions about the movie’s deeper meaning, my sense was that it was commenting on the damage that enormous wealth, and the isolation from ordinary people and situations that it engenders, can do to a person. That’s all I got.

But Carrell’s performance was fantastic. It’s just a shame (for him) that Eddie Redmayne is going to win. But Redmayne’s performance was astounding, too.

So, what does he think?

I very much enjoyed the movie. Steve Carell nailed the role and proved he has a real talent for acting in other than comedies. Über-creepy guy or what? I don’t know if even being buddies with a billionaire could have reconciled me to spending any time with this nutjob.

Here’s a quick link, summarizing his disagreement. The crux of it seens to be that the film implies a gay relationship between him and duPont. In his book, he claims duPont tried it on once but that he intimisated him so much during the pass that he never tried it again.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jan/02/mark-schultz-attacks-gay-relationship-in-wrestling-biopic-foxcatcher

Schultz also says that Dupont confided he’d had an accident as a child, resulting in his castration and a need to take testosterone, which he frequently skipped. He further claims that this made Dupont rather effeminate and explained his sexual advance.

To me, it reads a bit church influenced, so maybe he approved initially until someone in the church pointed it out? He thanks the film crew fairly effusively in the book.

He proved this for me in* The Way Way Back*, which was a comedy-drama but Carrell was not a comedian in it.

This …except replace The Way Way Back with Little Miss Sunshine which came out all the way back in 2006. Carrell’s acting talent is not a recent development.

Oh, yes, that too, forgot about that.