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Foxcatcher (3/10)

by Tony Medley

Running Time 134 minutes

OK for children.

This is your quintessential Hollywood long, boring movie starring, not unsurprisingly, the actor with two last names, Channing Tatum. Directed without an iota of pace by Bennett Miller, it has the further detraction that it doesn’t explain a thing about Olympic wrestling, a sport with arcane rules that could use some explaining. How Miller could have won the Cannes Film Festival award as Best Director for this film is a puzzlement.

Based on a tragic true-life story about 1984 Olympic Gold Medal winners Mark and Dave Schultz (Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, respectively) and a richer-than-Croesus wrestling coach wannabe, John du Pont (an almost unrecognizable Steve Carell, in a terrific performance), who starts a training ground (the Foxcatcher National Training Center) on his estate for wrestlers who want to train for the Olympics, this film (written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman) moves with the speed of a sleepy turtle. It failed the watch test dismally. DuPont wants to escape the influence of his disapproving mother (Vanessa Redgrave) by proving he can do something himself. But he’s equally domineering over the hapless wrestlers as his mother is over him, and puts the Schultz’s in a difficult position.

Tatum gives a good performance as a simian-like creature who is jealous of his brother and wants to make it on his own. The question I always have when I see Tatum in roles like this (just about all of them) is, is he really acting?

This drags on for almost 2 ˝ hours. The only time it captured my interest was for about 15 minutes near the end when it suddenly picked up. But it tarries on for a while after that to prove that pace is not something anybody involved in this film cares about.