Part existential mystery, part Freudian detective story and fully an indictment of the American success story, Cannes Best Director winner Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” offers a cold, ponderous experience without answers, easy or otherwise. Steve Carell takes a sharp, Oscar-baiting turn as a wealthy, queer (in every sense of the word) wrestling patron John Du Pont opposite Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as brother wrestlers. Pushed back from its original release date, the murky drama was a labor of obsessive, meticulous love for Miller, who speaks candidly about the project in Anne Thompson’s in-depth interview.
Unlikely to pick up much in the way of Oscar glory, Jon Stewart’s also fact-based “Rosewater” tells the riveting true story of Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari who was imprisoned in Tehran under suspicions of being a spy. Gael Garcia Bernal bravely takes on this role, ruthlessly interrogated and blindfolded by Iranian intelligence operatives, embracing what Stewart, in Anne’s exclusive Telluride video interview, a “purposeful inauthenticity.”
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood follows up her 2000 “Love & Basketball” with “Beyond the Lights.” This romantic drama stars 2014 breakout Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a star singer who, while grappling with depression and an overbearing stage mom (Minnie Driver), sparks with her bodyguard (Nate Parker). Prince-Bythewood talks making the film she wanted to make with Anne here.
Meanwhile, Hilary Swank descends upon the middling Best Actress race in “The Homesman,” Tommy Lee Jones’ pomo feminist Western where she stars as a single frontier woman on a perilous journey with three crazy women (and Jones) to Iowa. This competitive Oscar entry is shot in glorious 35mm by cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto.
Make it a psychosexually-troubled-women-on-the-verge triple feature this weekend with Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmeyer’s bizarre showbiz horror ramp “Starry Eyes,” as well as fest breakout filmmaker Josephine Decker’s “Butter on the Latch” and “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely.” Both Decker features hit up New York and VOD Friday. See these woozy, moody, arty pastoral thrillers at your own peril—her fractious editing style and feverous montages of nature’s ominous portent, while easily labelled “Lynchian” or “Malick-esque,” indicate a filmmaker who’s still in bloom, but shows promise.