Foxcatcher is based on the true story of John du Pont and his efforts to create a world class wrestling team by using Olympic medal winners Mark & Dave Schultz to do so. Through this dark and ultimately tragic story, Miller is interested at getting at something about America, about money, about power, about violence and he does get at all of those things in various ways, but the film still succeeds most powerfully as a personal story about troubled men and the way they relate. The script is sparse and the direction minimal, but, with a haunted score by Rob Simonsen, the film creates a palpable atmosphere of unquiet dread. It’s a pitch black movie with not a single joke in it that I recall, but there’s no room for humor as the film quietly, implacably works toward its brutal ending. It’s a movie both physically and emotionally brutal, finally, and philosophically too perhaps. The performances really are incredible. Carrell received praise, and deservedly so in my opinion, for his strange, awkward performance as Du Pont; it’s a performance filled with moments of such awkwardness and embarrassment that it almost becomes too painful to watch. Channing Tatum is genuinely revelatory with his best performance to date as the conflicted, deeply troubled and unstable Mark Schultz. Mark Ruffalo, meanwhile, quietly gives yet another in a long, long string of astoundingly great minimal performances as Dave Schultz, finding a way to minimally portray a deep well of emotion and also transforming his body language completely. It feels like there’s already a kind of a backlash against this film; ignore it. Miller’s crafted another masterpiece. Highly recommended. 4 stars
tl;dr – brilliant performances, an effective, brutal script and Miller’s atmospheric direction all combine to create a genuine American tragedy. 4 stars.