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Blu-ray Review Foxcatcher Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Richard Gallagher, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. Richard Gallagher


    Dec 9, 2001
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    Fishkill, NY
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    Rich Gallagher
    XenForo Template Foxcatcher Blu-ray Review

    Comedian Steve Carell turns in a remarkable, darkly dramatic performance as multi-millionaire John du Pont in director Bennett Miller's Foxcatcher, which has been beautifully brought to Blu-ray in another exceptional release by Sony. This based-on-fact film is not everyone's cup of tea, and it is longer than it needs to be, but it is a strange and fascinating story.

    Cover Art

    Studio: Sony

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, French 5.1 DTS, Other

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

    Rating: R

    Run Time: 2 Hr. 14 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    Standard Blu-ray Case

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 03/03/2015

    MSRP: $34.99

    The Production Rating: 4/5

    I only had one real friend growing up. Hugh Cherry. Hughby. He was the son of my mother's chauffeur. When I was 16, I found out that my mother had been paying him to be my friend. - John du Pont.

    Freestyle wrestlers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) each won gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a remarkable achievement. Unlike some other sports, however, a gold medal in wrestling brings with it no guarantee of a lucrative career. At the beginning of Foxcatcher, Mark is training in humble facilities for the World Championship with coaching assistance from Dave. The brothers have been close for all of their lives, but Mark is beginning the chafe at Dave's influence over him. One day Mark receives a telephone call from a man who represents John du Pont (Steve Carell), an heir to the DuPont Chemical fortune. John wants Mark to come visit him at his estate in Pennsylvania and he has already arranged for Mark to fly first-class.

    Mark, not really knowing what to expect, accepts the offer. When he meets John the billionaire gets to the point. He wants to have his own wrestling team, to be called "Foxcatcher" after his father's horse racing stable. More importantly, he wants Mark to train at John's own facility on the estate. Not only is the training facility state of the art, John also will pay Mark and allow him to live in a house on the estate. The first hint of strangeness comes when Mark is warned that he is never to speak to John's elderly mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and he is not go near her beloved horses.

    John fancies himself to be Mark's coach, although in truth he has no experience in coaching and his mother despises wrestling. Nevertheless, he persists and the team has some success. Although John shows signs of being an eccentric, such as his purchase of a tank and then insisting that a machine gun be installed upon it, he and Mark develop what appears to be a close friendship. John's goal is to see Mark win the World Championship and then another gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Initially he asks Mark to have Dave come to Pennsylvania as well, but Dave is married with children and he does not want to uproot his family. Later, after John makes a serious mistake by introducing Mark to cocaine, he offers a lucrative deal to Dave to move to Pennsylvania and be the team's de facto coach. This causes a rift between John and Mark, because previously John had convinced Mark that he had spent his entire life in his brother's shadow and now he has humiliated him. Mark not only does not want to be John's friend any longer, he refuses to even acknowledge his presence.

    Steve Carell, who is almost unrecognizable with a prominent prosthetic nose, turns in an Academy-Award nominated performance for Best Actor, giving off just hints of madness until it becomes evident that John's behavior goes beyond eccentricity. Mark Ruffalo deservedly garnered a nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, giving a nuanced and sympathetic performance as Dave. Both he and Channing Tatum demonstrate considerable athleticism as wrestlers. Vanessa Redgrave has only a few lines of dialogue, but she projects mystery in two scenes where she has no audible dialogue at all.

    Although Bennett Miller received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, the film is slow and meandering in spots, and we never get a real sense of what led to John DuPont's mental illness. Perhaps that is unknowable, but apart from the fact that John grew up wealthy but friendless we are left wondering where things went wrong with him. His relationship with his mother is not well-developed, and there is no mention of the fact that his marriage at the age of 45 essentially lasted for only six months. Still, on balance I found Foxcatcher to be a compelling film in spite of its flaws.

    Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

    The 1080p image utilizes the AVC codec and is properly framed at 1.85:1. Included is some black & white archival footage which looks very good. This Blu-ray transfer is highly detailed, and Greig Fraser's cinematography includes some beautiful shots of Pennsylvania's pastoral countryside. Colors are accurate, contrast is solid, black levels are excellent, and shadow detail is very good.

    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The English 5.1 DTS HD-MA audio is excellent, with crystal-clear dialogue and a pleasing (albeit somewhat mournful) music soundtrack by composer Rob Simonsen. I was particularly impressed with the audio in the competitive wrestling scenes, which heightens the realism of the action.

    Special Features Rating: 2/5

    The extras on this Blu-ray release include "The Story of Foxcatcher," a 16-minute making-of featurette. This was a long-term project for director Miller, who explains that one reason he wanted Steve Carell to play John du Pont was due to the fact that he would be totally surprising in such a dark role.

    Two deleted scenes are included, without comment about why they did not make the final but. One of the scenes shows Mark having an argument with Dave's wife, Nancy (Sienna Miller), and it helps to illustrate the misplaced hostility which Mark felt toward his sister-in-law.

    Also included are the film's theatrical trailer, as well as trailers for Whiplash, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Leviathan, and Love is Strange.

    Overall Rating: 4/5

    Foxcatcher is a flawed but intriguing film which may inspire viewers to look for more information about the principal characters, and in particular the character of John du Pont. Perhaps we just have to accept that some bizarre and destructive behavior does not lend itself to a logical explanation.

    Reviewed By: Richard Gallagher

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  2. Robin9

    Robin9 Producer

    Dec 13, 2006
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    Thanks for the review. very interesting. I'd never heard of this film. is it pure fiction or is based on real people?
  3. David Sal

    David Sal Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 7, 2003
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    Based on a true story. Great film.
  4. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

    Nov 19, 2004
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    Mos Eisley Spaceport
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    Brett Meyer
    A disturbing film. There are some great liberties taken in the script, especially the timeline. The performances are excellent. Worth a look.

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