Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Roar Power
Jurassic World unleashed on iTunes
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Movie News

Trailer For The Coen Brothers' Hail Caesar! Arrives
Baird Whitlock has been kidnapped!
UK Teaser Trailer And Poster For Pride And Prejudice And Zombies
How to succeed in polite society...
Empire Podcast 182: Abi Morgan, Sarah Gavron And Robert Zemeckis
Walking The Walk and talking the talk
2016 Done In 60 Seconds Entries Are Open
You could be a star at the next Jameson Empire Awards
Pan Podcast Special
Joe Wright, Hugh Jackman, Rooney Mara and more
Ron Perlman Part Of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
And he may be a fantastic beast
First Promo And Poster For Paul Bettany's Shelter
Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie live on the streets
Exclusive New Poster For Tangerine
'Tis the season to get even
Samara Weaving Will Be The Babysitter
In McG's coming-of-age horror
Horror Comic The Woods Heading To Television
Universal Cable Productions does deal with Boom!
More Movie News

Trailer For The Coen Brothers' Hail Caesar! Arrives
Baird Whitlock has been kidnapped!
More Movie News

Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Foxcatcher (2015)
Empire Star Rating
Alexander And The Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Cannes 2014: First Look At Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher
Empire grapples with Channing Tatum's wrestlemania

20 May 2014  |  Written by Damon Wise  

submit to reddit

With Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller reveals himself as a very, very interesting director, taking genuine artistic risks in the wake of the much more commercially viable Moneyball. It’s no wonder this film was held for Cannes and not debuted in the North American festivals of last year, since its style is very European (a euphemism for 'slow', itself often a euphemism for 'boring') and not at all what one might expect from what is essentially (like Capote) a true crime story.

Instead, this is an opaque human drama with a lot to say about male relationships, which it does in a very strong and tactile way. Wrestling is a key component of the film, and Miller doesn’t back away from it, staying slightly removed and somewhat objective about the various training techniques and moves. Bulky men in leotards could so easily become camp and silly, but an excellent performance by Channing Tatum ensures the film stays grounded.

The story itself is very simple: gold medal-winning wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum) is approached by chemicals billionaire John Du Pont (Steve Carell) to help him assemble the US team for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Schultz accepts the offer and tries to recruit his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who is initially sceptical. But as Dave comes round to the idea, Mark becomes more and more disillusioned with Du Pont, a controlling and deeply strange individual.

History tells us that this relationship didn’t end well, but Miller’s films sets up a very unusual and intimate triangular dynamic, one that is rare for a Hollywood film. Foxcatcher is mostly propelled by what it doesn’t tell us that what it does, using its core cast so beautifully – will Carell or Tatum get the Best Actor nomination? – that this is sure to be a major player come awards season.

In the foreground we have Du Pont and Mark Schultz, a pair so polar – the aloof one-per-center and the eager-to-please working man – that they bring instant subtext whenever they’re together. Then we have Du Pont and Dave Schultz, a much more fractious collaboration. But the combination that gives the film its heart is the pairing of Tatum and Ruffalo as the brothers; Mark as the bruised and vulnerable bear of a man, with the more sensible Dave acting as his trainer, mentor and, ultimately, saviour.

Some might find this oblique approach a little alienating, but, for the patient, Foxcatcher is a powerful and most likely durable film, a sinister bromance with unusual overtones of male daddy issues that seems to occupy a permanent state of winter. It will be fascinating to see where all concerned go next...

Have Your Say
To comment on this, and all articles, register for free or login now.

Three New Stills For Disney's Animated Sci-Fi Big Hero Six
Hello Mr. Roboto
Alfonso Cuarón May Wrangle Fantastic Beasts
Update: He won't tackle the Potter prequel

Empire's Best Horror Films For Halloween
An unlucky thirteen triple-bills

Emily Blunt Talks Sicario
On the five-star thriller, puke acting and taking Tom Cruise to The Box

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)