Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his brother, David (Mark Ruffalo) both won gold medals in wrestling in the 1984 Olympics. David has been enjoying a successful life after his win, including a wife and daughter, along with a job as a wrestling coach. Mark, however, is not faring as well. He takes speaking jobs at elementary schools and scrapes by while training with David for the upcoming World Championships and, hopefully, the 1988 Olympics.
John du Pont (Steve Carrell), of the wealthy du Pont family, runs a wrestling camp at his mother’s (Vanessa Redgrave) Foxcatcher Farms. His mother is staunchly opposed to even the thought of wrestling. This does nothing to dissuade John’s obsession with the sport. John invites Mark to come to Foxcatcher to train. Not having many options, but looking to get out of David’s shadow, Mark agrees.
As the World Championship tournament nears, John and Mark develop more of a friendship than a coach/athlete relationship. John introduces Mark to his lifestyle, which could have an impact on Mark’s training.
Those of you familiar with Steve Carrell likely won’t recognize much of that in this role. Carrell plays an eccentric millionaire with a much more serious note than you have seen him in other movies. There are no slapstick bits. In fact, no comedy at all. Just the bizarre dealings of a man who doesn’t have his mother’s approval, and doesn’t know how to handle being rich. And Carrell does it well.
Channing Tatum also abandons his typical style. He portrays the not so bright wrestler convincingly. Everything from his demeanor to even his walk fits perfectly into the character. It may be a bit of a caricature, but it works for the film. Mark Ruffalo performs equally well.
The makeup in the movie is excellent. Even the small details, down to the cauliflower ear, are well done. Nothing looks slapped on. I would be surprised if the film isn’t up for an award.
Based on a true story, it is an interesting story, that mostly goes as expected. That’s not to say it isn’t well told. And, unless you’re familiar with the story, which I was not, the ending is a bit surprising. Although, I wish there would have been a little more history between the return to Foxcatcher and the final scene, if only to provide some sort of time frame for the events.
Foxcatcher is definitely worth watching, but you could wait for it to be available to rent.