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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Foxcatcher (2014)

The eccentric multi-millionaire and heir (Steve Carell) to the vast Du Pont fortune takes it upon himself to sponsor a wrestling team for the 1988 Olympics and provide training facilities on his massive estate. To this end, he enlists an Olympic gold medal winning wrestler (Channing Tatum) to assist him with the training but what begins as a well intentioned idea soon turns dark and leads to tragedy. Based on the events leading to the murder of Olympic winning gold medalist Dave Schultz by his "mentor", the director Bennett Miller (MONEYBALL) adjusts the facts to suit the story but it remains fairly faithful to the actual events. It some ways, it's a hard film to like and I can see why some people are turned off by it as Miller's quietly methodical execution leaves a chill. While we never understand Du Pont's pathology to the point where his actions make any kind of sense (no motive was ever established), Carell gives us an unsettling portrait of an egomaniac so removed from the real world that it never occurs to him that people can say no or have feelings or thoughts outside his ken. The acting is first rate right down the line. It's Tatum's best work to date and matched by Mark Ruffalo as his older brother. One of the best American films of the year. With Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller and Anthony Michael Hall (totally unrecognizable from his BREAKFAST CLUB days.

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