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[film] Foxcatcher - badgerblog
January 1st, 2015
09:17 pm

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[film] Foxcatcher
Foxcatcher with Steve Carrell’s (excellent) zero affect performance & bleak grays and silences is a vampire movie. Hear me out.

Visually, the entire film is shot in low saturation and grayed out to the point that the gloriously vibrant rural Pennsylvania woods in summer and fall look drained and anything else looks worse. Carrell's performance involves an almost totally immobile face and an overall bodily stillness. He is often shown slumped deep into a chair like a corpse in a coffin: a complete absence of physical twitches, or life, or movement, only his eyes and voice. His physical presentation is similar to an insect, arachnid, some depictions of vampires, and (I believe) Larry Niven's descriptions of people whose life spans have been extended far beyond normal: in many cases they're long-lived because they're ultra-wealthy and can afford to not die, but they're identifiable as ancient not by wrinkles but by their physical stillness.

Carrell's character has supernatural powers the same way that it has been argued that Bruce Wayne's superpower isn't training or willpower, it's money. Like Dracula and other vampires of his style, Carrell's character is aristocratic, lives in a mansion with a retinue of servants some of whose loyalties approximate Renfield's. As to vampiric draining, he doesn't drink blood, he makes people submit to his will and subjugate themselves. One of the toughest scenes in the movie is where Mark Ruffalo's character due to circumstances forces himself, an Olympic gold medalist and successful coach, to describe Carrell's character as his mentor in his personal area of expertise and excellence. Ruffalo's character is explicitly coached into the words by one of the other employees, who reminds him that Carrell's character prefers vocabulary words like "dominate".

Carrell, Tatum, and Ruffalo all give very good to excellent performances. Vanessa Redgrave has a small but powerful role as the matriarch of the family. Despite the previous work of Carrell and Tatum this is in no way a comedy.

Even without the vampire interpretation, it's not hard to categorize Foxcatcher as a horror movie: it's a good movie but not remotely a pleasant one.

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