Friday, January 9, 2015
Foxcatcher (a movie review post)
I went into this one with no idea of what it was about. I mean, I had no clue at all other than my wife saying she thought it had something to do with boxing, which turned out to be wrong and only matters in that it explains that I had no expectations whatsoever. Even having no expectations, what I got was completely unexpected.
The movie was kind of like watching a scorpion or a large spider crawling over your kids, and you can't do anything about it. It gives you the shivers and makes your skin crawl watching that... thing... creeping over your kids, and you just keep hoping it keeps going and doesn't stop to bite or sting. Watching spiders and scorpions and how they move can be pretty fascinating. It's just not enjoyable when they're on you or someone you care for.
That said, the performances are amazing. I mean, seriously, they are fantastic.
You can barely recognize Carell, and it's not because of the nose and makeup. His whole bearing is changed. The way he holds his head, the way he talks, his mannerisms. There's nothing Carell-ish about him, none of that frenetic energy he so often has. And he's creepy. He's a creepy, rich, old white dude, and he acts like it. I might not have known it was him if I hadn't known it was him. That Steve Carell was in it was about the only thing I knew about the movie going into it.
Speaking of bearing, Tatum and Ruffalo were incredible. I don't know if I can even describe what they did. So they were playing Mark and David Shultz, wrestlers who both won gold at the 84 Olympics, and they had this way of moving their bodies around that more closely resembled chimpanzees than humans. It wouldn't have even surprised me if they had put their knuckles to the floor and moved with their arms instead of their legs. And it's not just about the way they walked; it's everything. Tatum even had this jutting lower jaw, and it wasn't some fancy prosthetic thing. If he was doing that himself, it must have taken incredible concentration to keep that up through filming. The overall effect, especially with Tatum, was that of cavemen. Or, at least, how we imagine cavemen.
And Ruffalo? Well, I wasn't even sure it was him some of the time during the movie. I mean, I thought it was Ruffalo, but, every once in a while, I was doubtful. I thought it was just someone that bore a striking resemblance to him. With the beard and the odd way he moved around, I was never quite sure, not until the credits rolled. That's just impressive.
To top it all off, at least as far as I can tell by doing a cursory investigation of what actually happened, the movie got it pretty spot on. The only issue I could even raise is that there is a lack of clarity about the time frame on some of the events, but that doesn't have any actual bearing on the movie or the plot; I was just surprised to find out how far apart some of the events actually were. That's a very small thing for a movie like this.
I think this is definitely a movie worth seeing as long as you're not looking for something that's going to give you that feelgood buzz when it's over. If you want to see some stellar performances, though, this is really a must see movie.