Director: Bennett Miller
Actors: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave
Writers: E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
Runtime: 133 min
In Foxcatcher (2014), Bennett Miller tackles the sport of wrestling and the true story of Mark and Dave Schultz and their relationship with John du Pont. The result is a genre-defying sports-thriller that continues in Miller’s tradition of focusing on new angles as opposed to action-packed sports scenes. When multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) approaches brothers and Olympic wrestling champions Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and offers to become their coach, only Mark agrees. The further Mark becomes integrated into du Pont’s bizarre world, the more he realizes that something is not right. Tatum and an unrecognizable Ruffalo both perform their parts well, but the real acting star is Carell. Du Pont is a subtly repellent individual, and Carell uses nuanced vocal inflections and facial expressions to craft a character on which it is impossible to place one’s finger. Also, a haunting score creates an ever-present sense of dread, and elevates the work into the realm of tragedy. Foxcatcher is a slow-burning film that reveals its mysteries in its own time, and ends up as more of a relationship drama than a sports flick, focusing on the psychology of its characters rather than on action. It is especially gripping for one unfamiliar with the Schultz and du Pont story, and is all the more shocking due to its truth. Foxcatcher succeeds not only due to a trio of transformative lead performances, but also due to the atypical and fearless approach of its director.
Overall Rating: 8.2 / 10