I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I sat down to watch this movie. I knew nothing of the story, I knew only that it had garnered a slew of awards and that Carell was creepy and weird-looking in the trailer.
Mark Schultz (Tatum) is an Olympic Champion having won a gold medal for wrestling at the 1984 Games. In the lead up to the 1988 Olympics, he was making a meagre living from speaking engagements and (I think) training wrestlers between his own twice daily training sessions. He seemed a bit tragic…. he lived alone and just seemed unhappy and lonely, maybe not too bright.
His brother David (Ruffalo) is happily married with 2 small children, running his own gym and training with Mark. He is a much more settled and happy man so when John Du Pont (Carell) enters the picture and wants to set up his own private training team/camp for wrestlers at his estate, Mark is keen to go while David initially refuses.
Mark packs up and moves across the country to live and train on the Du Pont family estate. Du Pont, who deludes himself that he is some sort of respected and skilled trainer, brings in training mates for Mark in a purposely built facility. The Du Ponts are among the wealthiest families in America so money is never an obstacle. This is never more apparent than when Du Pont buys himself a tank and throws a tantrum because there is no machine gun with it. It’s a pathetic spectacle indeed.
Gradually, Mark finds himself ensnared in this bizarre world of the super rich who can … and do ….. buy anything and anyone they want. He is now more like a pet to John and sadly, acts accordingly. At one point, Du Pont laments his discovery as a teenage boy who his only childhood friend was paid to be so by his mother, the epitome of an Ice Queen Jean Du Pont (Redgrave)….. they are a cold, strange, detached almost unhuman like people.
When David does finally relent and join the team, things go from bad to worse. They all seem so intent on ignoring the great, big, huge elephant in the room….. that John is a psycho with little to no genuine knowledge of anything and this is all merely an ego boosting hobby for him.
To say this movie is creepy is an undertstatement. Carell is beyond weird with his quiet, strange, almost inbred looks, manner and demeanour. He creeps around his estate, appearing from nowhere and expecting the world to stop as he holds court. He is a sad little lonely, rich boy with nobody there to stop him. He does as he pleases with no concern for anyone other than himself.
Both Carell and Ruffalo were nominated for Oscars for this movie and the greatest travesty of all is Tatum’s omission from the nominations. He is amazing. He carries the entire production and bears it with skill and a talent that, to be honest, we always hoped but never really thought he had.
Foxcatcher is so creepy that all I wanted to do for the last hour was flee the cinema. I could hardly stand the tension and it was all I could do to stay. If you enjoy great movies, great acting, great storytelling, do not miss Foxcatcher. An instant classic.
4 3/4 stars
Love Flick xx
Director : Bennett Miller
Starring : Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Michael Hall,
Running Time : 129 minutes
Release Date : 29 January 2015