Foxcatcher [2014] ★★★½

foxcatcher-posterI’ve been hearing a lot of good things about “Foxcatcher” ever since Bennett Miller won the best director prize at this year’s Cannes festival. Now that’s it’s finally here, this brilliant and devastating drama starring Steve Carell (in a role of a lifetime), Mark Ruffalo (in one of his best performances) and Channing Tatum can prove me right as one of the year’s best movies. You heard me. “Foxcatcher” is a knockout; a fantastic film that slams you like a body punch and then starts messing with your head. Based on real life events, Tatum plays Mark Schultz, winner of an Olympic gold medal for wrestling in 1984, but still living in the shadow of his older brother Dave (that would be Ruffalo). Enter John du Pont (Carell, almost unrecognizable), a millionaire who offers to take in Mark at his Foxcatcher farm and train him for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Du Pont also lives in a shadow, that of his wheelchair-bound mother (Vanessa Redgrave, also terrific). What happens next will hold you in its grip for over 2 hours.  And you won’t know what hit you by the time the credits start rolling. Miller couldn’t ask for better actors to fill these tricky roles. Ruffalo and Tatum are both excellent, but it’s Carell who steals the show as the strangely peculiar du Pont.  It’s a deliciously twisted performance and Carell gives it his very best (Oscar, take note). And yet, the movie’s triumph goes well beyond Carell’s tour de force performance. Working from a terrific script by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye, director Bennett Miller has made an unforgettable psychological thriller that hits hard. It’s a blistering, brilliant, straight-up classic.

Rating: 3.5/4

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