Based on the true and utterly bewildering story, Mark and Dave Shultz, two Olympic wrestlers, are invited by eccentric millionaire and patriot, John Du Pont, to train at his Pennsylvania estate and lead Team Foxcatcher to a gold medal.
"Foxcatcher" is a quietly unsettling film and from the beginning shot to the end credits, there is an overwhelming aura of sadness.
Channing Tatum plays Mark Schultz, a brutish yet incredibly talented wrestler who won gold at the 1984 Olympics, but can't seem to find his stride in life outside of the gymnasium. Tatum delivers a career defining performance and one that people will remember him by for years to come. Mark can't display his feelings very well and so he comes across as a very timid giant who only shows his true feelings to himself. After every loss, Mark would punish himself, as shown in the trailer.
Mark Ruffalo is equally as good as Dave Schultz, Mark's older brother, a much more capable and charismatic individual who cares deeply for his brother and his own family.
Steve Carell is perhaps the most noteworthy of the trio here as John Du Pont. Carell delivers a transformative and truly unsettling performance. Despite the prosthetic nose and pale make up, it is easy to see Carell in this performance, he puts himself into the role and makes it his own.
Du Pont is an obviously strange individual with a seemingly homoerotic passion for the sport of wrestling. He recruits Mark and Dave to lead his wrestling team to a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics. For Du Pont, this en devour is an obvious attempt to please his cold and distant mother but to also grow a friendship between him and Mark, the kind of bond that Du Pont never had the privilege of having in his youth. For Mark, Du Pont's offer is a once in a life time opportunity to escape from the overwhelming shadow of his brother's success.
Its obvious from the get go that there is something wrong with Du Pont, but at times we see a more sympathetic and lonely side to the character. Steve Carell showed us a glimpse of his dramatic talents in "Little Miss Sunshine" but we've never seen him like he is in "Foxcatcher". He's manipulative yet endearing, hurtful yet sympathetic, this is by far the performance of Carell's career, and is one that will change it for the better. Besides the makeup, Carell alters his speech and his movement and whilst he doesn't have a distinct resemblance to Du Pont, he transforms into the character.
By the end of the film its clear that there is mentally something wrong with John, but the film never tells you or makes any effort to explain it, you're just supposed to expected to get it, so I highly recommend you pay close attention.
Bennett Miller directs this somber and captivating true story that puts you in the head of an Olympic wrestler. Miller directs all three of the actors to stunning heights, all three should be in the conversation for Oscar nominations. Miller hints very subtly at a possible homosexual relationship between Mark and John, a subtext in the film that the real life Mark Schultz has revolted against. About halfway through the film there is a middle of the night wrestling sequence between Mark and John that carries a lot of gay subtext, its shot like a rape sequence and it chilled me to my core.
The film is very distant and by that I mean its always keeping you at arms length, observing the action from afar. Apart from a few smaller moments where I was allowed to empathize with the characters, the film feels very emotionally detached. Foxcatcher comes in at around the 130 minute mark and be warned, this is a very slow burning movie, don't except high octane wrestling sequences or grand speeches, this is a very slow, somber and chilling thriller.
Foxcatcher is certainly worth seeing if you're a fan of harrowing true stories but this is a not a film for the impatient, its a slow, sedate film with three outstanding performances.