Cannes ‘Foxcatcher’ bow bodes well for fall release

CANNES, France - Prior to this year’s Cannes Film Festival the director Bennett Miller asserted himself as a major, stealthy talent attuned to minor-key, observant portraits of American success stories with an asterisk, a hidden price tag.

Miller followed his first narrative feature, “Capote,” with “Moneyball.” While “Capote” showcased an utterly transformed Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote, “Moneyball” starred Brad Pitt in a comfortable, easygoing dramatic stretch as Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. The result was an improbably good story about metrics and statistics and diminished bottom lines.

Now comes a third true story, “Foxcatcher,” the new darling of the 2014 Cannes festival.

If the rivers of opinion washing along the Croisette following the 8:30 a.m. Monday press screening are reliable, director Miller’s latest is destined for awards here and Academy Award nominations aplenty in early 2015, most certainly for Steve Carell as billionaire chemical fortune heir and fatally obsessive wrestling enthusiast John du Pont.

The press conference following Monday’s “Foxcatcher” screening brought “bravo!”s and spontaneous applause from the typically jaded and oh-whatever international press corps. Carell and Miller were joined by producer Megan Ellison, and by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, who also star in the film. As in “Capote” and “Moneyball,” Miller said, “Foxcatcher” isn’t afraid of the contemplative moments before and after the moments usually emphasized in commercial filmmaking, particularly in biopics.

The film opens mid-November in America.