The Scott Foundas quote used in the Foxcatcher one-sheet tells you that if you look closely enough and think hard enough about the observations in this film, you will find a large-scale portrait of a certain cultural malignancy. Or something like that. I have long worshipped Miller’s touch and technique and stylings and I respect this film enormously, but I didn’t derive as much from the film as Foundas did. That said I remain ready and willing to give it another shot.
“There’s no doubt that Foxcatcher is very strong and precise and clean, especially as crime dramas tend to go,” I wrote from the Cannes Film Festival on 5.19.14. “And I respect the fact that it contains undercurrents that stay with you, and I certainly respect and admire what Miller has done here with his deft and subtle hand.
“But the obviously intelligent Foxcatcher is a relentlessly bleak trip that, accomplished as it is, isn’t especially likable or enjoyable. Okay, I ‘liked’ it or…you know, I didn’t ‘dislike’ it because it’s so well-made and refined, etc. But it’s basically a grim study of a dark tale about victims and affluent malevolence and corrupting wealth, and about fate surrounding the characters like tentacles and sucking them down the drain.
“No savvy players, no smart detectives, no wise guys, no sex, no heroes, no winners, no zingy dialogue…its a down concerto from start to finish.
“I don’t know what I’m saying but maybe it’s this: the story of John DuPont and the Schultz brothers may be a little crazier and more crudely distracting — something that fits right into the People template — than what Miller, a man of fine impeccable taste, may have been willing to exploit. I’m not saying I don’t relish Miller’s perceptions or his exquisite eye and the restraint he always defaults to in his films. I’m saying that Foxcatcher feels very pruned and shrouded and meticulously assembled, and that maybe what the movie needed was a little cheap vulgarity just to round things out.
“This has not been a pan. It’s basically been a statement of sincere respect for Miller’s craft and commitment to a certain aesthetic combined with an honest gut reaction. I hope I won’t be misinterpreted.”