Monday, December 29, 2014

on 'Foxcatcher'

facinating story, and I almost didnt recognize Steve Carell with his superb performance (and lack of hair) portraying Jon du Pont's point of view. Clearly, from the start of the story, I knew something is too good to be true, almost purposely set up that such events cant be real. The film started off with filling in the audience of Mark Schultz's point of view (his struggle and being little naive) but gradually upon realizing the problem, we transitioned into the mind set of Jon du Pont.

the film presented the viewer with several metaphors of how du Pont is keeping his wrestlers like the horses in his barn, and how du Pont is really a child still trying to impress his mother by projecting false images of himself, still trying to prove something that he thinks he deserve. its pretty hard to sum up the film in a single sentence, but it does make you think about the many themes presented in it. One can have power and wealth, but values such as love, respect, and achievements are EARNED. which is the fundamental difference between Jon du Pont and Dave Schultz. clearly, du Pont is confused seeing how Dave is able to gain the respect, and trust of the teamates, while he is only some shadow watching from the side line. As much as he tries to 'participate' everyone knows what he really is, behind all the wealth and trophies lying around. He feels uncomfortable and confused seeing Dave is loved by his kids and wife, and a bond between the brothers that he does not share - look at me! the 'golden eagle' of America!

the film does not project a positive outcome, and that uneasy feeling slowly eating away at Mark's mind after snorting cocaine in the helicopter builds up in a subtle and steady manner. i think Channing Tatum did a great job in portraying it. It reminds me of 'Raging Bull' depictions of self destructiveness when a person knowingly going down the wrong path. There aren't too many dialogues, and even when characters are talking, they are whispering in a way that almost let's the audience fill in the gap. I think those silent moments are thousand times more powerful than any lines given... often in a movie, when the characters are 'just talking' i look away, because there's no real meaning in what they are saying, but when a character is not saying anything, it keeps my eyes on the screen to really feel what the character is TRYING to say, and I get it more than words can describe. (unlike TV animation, which is filled with unnecessary dialogue trying to keep kid's attention at bay, and sell toys during breaks) anyways, but when the characters do speak, the words were spot on.
"no... you can't buy Dave." and we get it!

there were few part of the film that I predicted what was going to happen, and they did. Probably due to the foreshadowing of camera work, and Steve Carell's acting. you can see it in his face of what he probably will do. My mind went something like "oh no way! hes gonna ..." and it DID happen. the setting and the cinematography of the film reminds me of 'Fargo' not because of the cold winter snow, but the feeling of loneliness, we see a lot of open space, the gym, the field, the morning fog, and even indoors , to help establish the mood for the film. Du Pont is trapped inside an image of himself, trapped in the expectations of his family, trapped inside the estate that is in the middle of a battle ground.

'foxcatcher' is a different kind of sports drama, and more of a thriller I feel, that is different from the others. We are not dealing with winning the medal or the physical/mental challenges of the sport, but winning whats more important to the protagonist, money and comfort? or a brotherly love that cant be bought. Du Pont is like the caged animal himself, he is caged by his inherited wealth, his false image and surrounded himself with achievements of others. Mark realizes what du Pont is doing to him, and it's Dave's brotherly love that saved him from going down the same path. In many ways, the film translates to real life (not because its based off real events) but we do see these very people in our daily lives and it subconsciously helps us to make the right choices from time to time. That to me, is what makes a good Film. (amen!) : D