Tagging Al Pacino in
time. The opening sequence quickly sets the theme for the whole movie. Ungraying his grizzled beard, Simon (Pacino) is reciting Shakespeare to his mirror image
who talks back to him with observations about his personal life. When the director calls out “three minutes to curtain call” Simon rushes to the stage, gets lost and locks himself out of the theatre. When he frantically bangs on the door to be let in, the stage manager has no idea who he is and refuses him entrance. In a short time, the audience realizes this is a dream. But it is another one of an actor’s worst nightmares.
Pacino calls Philip Roth his favorite author— he's thinking about an actor losing his talent. Well, that is not quite what an actor goes through. Both Buck Henry and Barry Levinson and I got together a few times, talked. I think what we came up with, the spin being humorous, there's some fun here. There is so much of "King Lear" in this movie, but the classic line, for me, from "Lear," is when he rages, "I am a man more sinned against than sinning," and you see Simon as a man more sinning than sinned against. The screening was hosted by Sharon Waxman’s The Wrap at the Landmark theatre in Los Angeles . The audience, a whole cabbage patch of intelligent industry insiders, not overdosed on Botox and bling. was deeply appreciative and gave Pacino a three minute standing ovation.
Monday, December 22, 2014
Saturday, December 20, 2014
THE STORY OF
The film focuses on du Pont's tortured relationship with Olympic wrestling brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). Despite his gold medal, Mark lives a life of constipated silence and lacks a life and identity outside of his daily wrestling practice with his older brother Dave. The two never seem as comfortable as when they're tussling, nuzzling and throwing each other around. Dave also acts as watchful father figure to his insecure sibling. Soon, du Pont extends an offer Mark can't refuse: He offers to accommodate him at his magnificent estate and subsidize his training for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Is homosexual attraction the reason for Du Pont’s involvement, the film refuses to go there? Mark moves onto the rural Pennsylvania property known as Foxcatcher Farms where the taciturn du Pont keeps a stable of Olympic hopefuls, assuming the role as their coach. Mostly, he wears a token uniform and creepily watches the wrestlers. His trophy room acts as a metaphor for his failed relationship with his icy equestrian mother Jean (Vanessa Redgrave). Inevitably, like with all of his relationships, du Pont treast Mark as his property, barging in on him at all hours, hit-
ting and insulting him, He invades Mark's psyche by pretending to sympathize with Mark and his inhibitions. Mark is musclebound, lumbering, inarticulate and in the shadow of his more outgoing big brother.
In his most emotionally complex performance, Tatum nails his character's pent-up ferocity and wounded vulnerability. The magic of Magic Mike does not exist in this film. Eventually, du Pont persuades Dave and his wife Nancy (Sienna Miller) to live on his luxurious premises. Ruffalo, a consummate creator of varying characters is supurb as the gregarious Dave, a grounded, parental guy with an edge of violence. But things go terribly wrong and du Pont shoots and kills Dave in 1996.
This is such a great feel-bad film that even though the dialogue is spare and the atmosphere depressing throughout, Director Bennett Miller's creates mounting intensity that culminates in the fatal shooting. Viewers, on the other hand, will be glued to their seats, mesmerized by the powerful performances and the tragic consequences of the demented mind of John E du Pont.