For Reel

Foxcatcher (2014)
January 4, 2015, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Bennett Miller
3 Stars
FoxcatcherMuch has been made of Steve Carell’s unrecognizable performance in Foxcatcher, however all three of its central performances involve remarkable transformations. They’re as physically controlled as Eddie Redmayne’s similarly championed work in The Theory of Everything–Carell’s hunched posture, Mark Ruffalo’s square stance and palms pointed away from his chest, Channing Tatum’s heavy stride that makes him seem twice as bulky as his already muscular frame. It’s a shame that their remarkable control is done a disservice by Bennett Miller’s distancing treatment, which confuses ambiguity with a lack of substance. For the sake of enhancing the mystery, Miller leaves many details and conversations absent from the audience’s eyes and/or ears. Unfortunately, he’s not so much creating intrigue as he is making one struggle to fill in the blanks. The emptiness is reductive. Carrel’s John Eleuthère du Pont is so obscured that all of his neuroses seem to hinge on a Freudian analysis one might read in two scenes involving his mother (Vanessa Redgrave), and Tatum’s multiple transformations seem abrupt and confused. Furthermore, in anticipating the devastating climax, Miller focus on the accumulating dread so much so that his tone is suffocating. Where the relationship between du Pont and Mark Schultz (Tatum) might be ambiguous, here it is always corruptive and potentially worse.

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