Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher held its TIFF premiere last night to a sold out audience at Roy Thompson Hall. The film examines the sordid tale of John DuPont’s (a nearly unrecognizable Steve Carell) acidic relationship with Olympic gold medalist Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). It follows DuPont’s recruitment of Mark into his fledgling idea of starting a wrestling team under the family banner of “Foxcatcher” as he trains to compete at the 1988 Olympic Games, and how it all leads to the tragic circumstances of Mark’s fellow Gold Medalist brother David (Mark Ruffalo).
Carell, Tatum and Ruffalo are all excellent here, this may be Tatum’s best performance to date, and while Carell may have the showiest role with all the prosthetics turning him into DuPont, Ruffalo’s understated turn as David dominates the screen every time he appears. This is Mark’s story though and the camera never forgets this as Tatum garners the most screen time, finally delivering on the promise he has had in other projects. A stellar supporting cast includes highly effective performances from Anthony Michael Hall, Sienna Miller and the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave who, in very little screen time, delivers a stark and stern performance as John’s overbearing mother, the source of John’s many insecurities.
Miller’s attention to detail comes very much into play as the meticulous manner in which the DuPont estate is recreated helps drop the audience right into the heart of story. And even though the ending is never in doubt, the audience can’t help being sucked into the impending sense of dread. This film will be a major contender come awards season.
Foxcatcher screens for a second time today at 12:00pm and the Princess of Wales theatre.