Published Sep 05, 2014On the surface, Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher is pure Oscar-bait. The formula: take a regularly Emmy-snubbed comedic actor (Steve Carell) and a former pretty boy with secret skills (Channing Tatum) and put them in a dark and brooding drama about blind patriotism and the perils of sport.
But there's more to Foxcatcher — a film based on the tumultuous real-life relationship between Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz and his benefactor, John du Pont — than meets the eye.
Carell commands the screen with an almost Kim Jong-un-esque air, flitting between weird statements, copious amounts of cocaine and dazed and confused stares throughout the film's two-hour runtime. He is the perfect American hero — lazy and dumb, but powerful — and Miller wants you to know that, employing clear cinematic metaphors (What's more old-money genteel than catching weak creatures with a fox?) and coercing sardonic statements from his character (du Pont regularly refers to himself as "the Golden Eagle") to illustrate that point.
A story about two men trying to find a connection to humanity through pure skin-on-skin sport may seem like an obvious one, but like all simple ideas, sometimes they're the most powerful.