Steve Carell gives the performance of his career as John Du Pont. The quiet, reclusive multimillionaire who was also an Olympic wrestling coach. He takes a young, impressionable Olympic gold medal winner Mark Schultz (played with amazing restraint by Channing Tatum) with the promise of participating in the 1988 Seoul Olympic games contingent that his more famous brother Dave Schultz; a well-respected and loved Gold medal winner joins his team as well. He's played with regal verve by Mark Ruffalo who looks almost unrecognizable having beefed up considerably and has a few sharp wrestling moves.
Director Bennett Miller, working from the script by E Max Frye and Dan Futterman; clearly fashion this true story out of the very sadistic and codependent relationship between the silently manipulative coach and the all-too-eager-to-please athlete. There's no 'inspirational' story arch here, but a sad, morose and dark film about the desperate need to win and to even gain the respect and confidence of a mentor and a father figure, regardless of just how twisted or cruel he may be.
At a massive running time of 135 minutes, the film takes it's time establishing the core relationships between the two brothers and the headstrong coach. On the strength of the key performances, I can't say enough. Much like 'Whiplash', another film about a student eager to please his sadistic, abusive teacher (J.K. Simmons who recently won an Oscar for his chilling performance), 'Foxcatcher' makes no bones about the price paid for conforming to the controlling confines of a mentor who may be doing it all for selfish reasons. Not an easily recommendable film based on content, but the rewards of fine performances all-around makes it all worth it.