Best of BFI: What to expect from the headliners of the festival?

A little heads-up on the next in line, critically-acclaimed productions famed at the recent BFI festival; Foxcatcher, Whiplash and Wild.

  1. Foxcatcher

 Directed by Bennett Miller.

Starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Vanessa Redgrave.

Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman.

This eagerly anticipated sports biopic surrounding the lives of John du Pont and the Schultz brothers, Mark and Dave, in the efforts to train US wrestling Olympians, has been credited as career changing for all three actors. Carrell, Tatum and Ruffalo are seen in characterisations far from their comfort zone, engaging in the dramatic chemistry of the sport of wrestling at a level of psychological strain and pressure. Miller’s direction, if anything like Capote and Moneyball, will transcend boundaries of human ability, showcasing talents of the mind and body to deliver the true stories of highly influential people. Nominated for five Academy Awards this year, and best director winner at the Cannes Film Festival, Foxcatcher is set to take the industry by storm with a hauntingly decadent insight into the world of wrestling.

  1. Whiplash

 Directed by Damien Chazelle

Starring Miles Teller, J.K Simmons and Paul Reiser.

Written by Damien Chazelle

Chazelle takes his audience on a journey of blood, sweat and tears (literally for Teller’s character), as he represents the world of Jazz music in a different light from the famed glamour that we know from the front of the show. The unseen, in the background, painful drive one needs to possess to finally get on that stage is what we see between Teller and Simmon’s characters – a psychologically draining dynamic between teacher and student to be ‘one of the greats’, as he says in the film. Drawing on his experience as a drummer in a very competitive jazz band in his high school years, Chazelle decided to enlighten the public with the traumatic lows he suffered, through Teller’s character of 19-year-old aspiring ‘great’ jazz drummer Andrew Neiman. Simmons’ portrayal of this teaching tyrant, disciplining his students by hurling instruments at their heads and reducing them to a tearful vulnerability, to only slap them in the face with their lack of talent, has been continuously praised, winning awards from festivals across the States, including New York Critics Circle and Palm Springs Spotlight award, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Whiplash is also in the running for five Oscars, including supporting Actor for Simmons, best film and adapted screenplay for Chazelle.

 

  1. Wild

 Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée.

Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffman.

Written by Nick Hornby

Witherspoon’s character Cheryl takes on the tough task of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail after suffering many heart breaking trials, pushing her closer and closer to the edge, in the hope of regaining her self back from a draining emotional downward spiral. Witherspoon portrays Cherly Strayed, the writer of and real-life hiker in the novel, on which the film is based, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, showcasing her bestseller story to the world on the screen. Vallée, director of last year’s critically acclaimed Dallas Buyers Club, digs deep to demonstrate ones condition after facing so much trauma and tragedy, and presents a character of unrelenting strength and bravery to command her life back. As it looks from the award race this year, Witherspoon seems to be back in the running for Best Actress, since her last win in 2006 for Walk the Line, according to the critical reactions of Variety and Deadline.com. If its anything like their previous successes, Wild will touch audience’s hearts, involving them in a journey to find ones identity and to stay true to ones self.

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