Brace yourselves: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo are mind blowingly good in Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher.” Postponed from last year this tautly told true murder tale will be a big awards pleaser this fall.
This is the second real Oscar movie of 2013, after Wes Anderson’s “Grand Budapest Hotel” and possibly Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner.” We’ll see.
What a relief though that “Foxcatcher” was worth the wait. Tatum and Ruffalo are so good, but Steve Carell has the last laugh, making a transition from comedy and “The Office” to this substantial piece of acting.
Director Bennett Miller now makes it three in a row with “Capote,” “Moneyball,” and “Foxcatcher.” He will have to stick to one word titles for good luck! Miller presents a very deliberate, meticulous character study of a situation that still causes arguments: the murder of wrestling coach Dave Schultz by DuPont heir John DuPont III. The latter went to prison and died there in 2010.
Tatum and Ruffalo play the wrestling Schultz brothers with an easy rapport. Ruffalo is always good, but Tatum still surprises. He’s not just “Magic Mike.” As Mark Schultz, the younger of the two wrestling brothers, he carries his end of the movie with remarkable aplomb.
Cut down from their original roles are Sienna Miller as Dave’s wife, and Vanessa Redgrave as DuPont’s mother. I suppose something had to be cut. But these are memorable nevertheless.
At the press conference this afternoon, Miller deftly handled questions about the murder and the movie’s steady peeling away of the layers of the case. He also choked up and teared up when Philip Seymour Hoffman was mentioned. Miller directed Hoffman to an Oscar in “Capote” and cast him as the baseball manager in “Moneyball.”
“Foxcatcher” will come this fall, and then watch out. Along with Angelina Jolie’s “Unbroken,” it’s going to be a big contender.