The year of my personal delayed reactions continues. Three of my favorite films this year have taken a day or two to sink in (in some cases a week or more), they took some time and contemplation for me to appreciate how wonderful they were. Frank, Birdman and Foxcatcher were all films that I knew I enjoyed when I left the theater but it took sometime for me to realize the degree to witch I enjoyed them. Some films value diminishes as time passes but the great ones appreciate in value.
Foxcatcher is described as -The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher lead by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances, but that in no way does justice to the film that Bennett Miller has created. Much like his previous film Moneyball, its a movie far better seen than discussed. That's not to say that both films will/have not inspired interesting conversations but that both films are understated character studies and must be seen to be appreciated.
The acting in the film is across the board spectacular. Steve Carell gives a career best performance as John E du Pont, his characterization of this man while not completely true to the man himself, is brilliantly layered and nuanced. His thoughts are never telegraphed through his words, we given insight through his expressions and posture. Carell gives an incredibly physical performance that unlike his previous work is never really played for laughs. His character is unnerving to watch. Channing Tatum is also giving a breakout performance as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz.
If you know where this story is heading it in no way takes away from the pleasure of watching it. This movie isn't about the ending and its not really about the chain of events that propelled these men to their eventual fates. This is a character study. The pleasure of this film is watching the actors. Don't get me wrong this isn't a light hearted take on some serious material but rather a compelling, deliberately paced decidedly dour examination of three men.
The true story of John du Pont is well covered and publicized but if you're not familiar with it watch this movie first, then go back and read up on this man. He had a pretty interesting life and to the filmmakers credit this is a part of the story that I was not familiar with at all. Most biopics become a greatest hits of someones life and rarely shed new light on familar events. While this movie only touches on what would eventually become du Ponts legacy it fleshes out that story in an incredibly effective manor.
I wish I would have seen this film before I compiled my top ten of 2014 because this would have been in the top three if not the #1 spot.