By Darin Skaggs
At about the half way point of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher John du Pont (Steve Carrell) explains to his trainee and one time Olympic Gold medalist Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) that he only had one friend growing up, and later found out that one friend was being paid by du Pont’s mother to hang out with him. Mark and him bond in this moment as Mark says all he had growing up was his much more put together brother Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). This is the whole theme of the film, loneliness. Both of these men are alone and desperately need someone else. The rest of the story is all about how being disconnected and lonely for too long and all of a sudden not feeling that way can affect you.
The story begins with Mark as he lives his dull life as a man with a rundown apartment, only talks to his brother and when we met him has earned a whole twenty bucks to speak at a middle school assembly that was originally planned for his brother to speak at, not him. He is certainly down on his luck until John du Pont gives him a call and asks him to come and train at his country house and make his own team in hope of another Olympic Gold medal. Tensions rise as John invites Dave to help out with the coaching which creates jealousy between Mark and John’s friendship.
There is a gloomy presence looming over the whole film. It is very dark throughout, all to give a sense of the loneliness that the characters feel. There is a minimal score to make everything more down hearted. It really makes you feel like these characters have not had much enjoyable human interaction in their lives and at times makes you feel happy, mostly pity, in their victories. That being said the film has a dark, creepy sense of humor. There are several smash cuts from sad scenes straight to odd scenes that could come off as comedic, which seems to be fully on purpose. This is probably why Miller hired Carrell and Tatum who have made a career of comedic performances. It works out well for everyone, both actors do amazing jobs along with Ruffelo who plays the man who is the most put together.
This film is filled with wonderful acting which is usual in Miller’s filmography, the previous being Moneyball and Capote. The film makes you feel pretty gloomy but the real accomplishment is in its ways to convey humor.