Based on a shocking true story. (warning there is a spoiler, well it is based on a true story .So yeah….)
What a shocking true story it was indeed! Acclaimed director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) brings another true story to the screen in Foxcatcher, which chronicles the relationship between Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz and eccentric millionaire heir John Du Pont and the events that led to the murder of Olympic gold medal wrestler David Schultz.
Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), is a down and former gold medal Olympian struggling to make ends meet and constantly stuck in the shadow of his older brother and fellow gold medal wrestler Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo). Just when his luck has all but ran out, Mark is given an offer from eccentric millionaire and heir to the Du Pont fortune, John Du Pont (Steve Carrell) to train with his athletics program Team Foxcatcher. Mark joins up and begins training with other wrestlers at the Du Pont family farm. In time, he thrives under Johns mentorship resulting in him winning another gold medal at the 1987 World Championships.
Even with John’s unstable emotional state, he and Mark develop a bond and become like family. Eventually a rift comes between them as John shows his true self, causing Mark to regress and distance himself. Dave is eventually hired on by John to join Team Foxcatcher, causing more problems for Mark as his dream is crumbling. After losing in a bad way during the 1988 Olympics, Mark leaves the team and quits wrestling. Meanwhile Dave stays behind to train with and coach a spring Olympic athletes.
Years later, in a fit of rage, Dave is shot down by John Du Pont in front of his house. Now Bennett Miller is known for making gritty and dark films where the sets are quiet and intense to achieve a dramatic experience that is more substance than flash (which resulted in Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s first Oscar win, and even comedic actor Jonah Hill received an Oscar nomination under Miller’s direction) and this film is the perfect example of that.
All three of the main actors, Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo gave what was probably the best performances of their careers to date. Tatum more than proves that he can step out from the heartthrob label and gives a heart gripping performance worthy of recognition and praise. Ruffalo flexes some already strong acting muscles that deservedly put him in the running for another Oscar nomination, and Steve Carell (wow!)… Now I knew that he could play a serious role after seeing his first dramatic turn in Little Miss Sunshine, but I never imagined that the guy who played Brick in Anchorman could be that frightening. Carrell’s portrayal of real life deranged millionaire John Du Pont is transcendent and will leave you wondering if he was just playing a role in a movie. Director Bennett Miller hits another home run with Foxcatcher and is most certainly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in the film industry. With a solid supporting cast and a great story that seems too crazy to be true, Foxcatcher is definitely a favorite for Best Picture of the Year. I rate this film four stars.
Review by Sean Daniel Stephens, Austin Texas
Born September 12 1989 in Killeen, Texas, Sean is a Licensed phlebotomist, an aspiring filmmaker and film enthusiast. “Growing up, I always had a love for films. That is how I bonded with family and friends. Along with my love for books, films helped to open up my imagination to new worlds and ideas.”