Foxcatcher – movie review

Steve Carell deserves an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film Foxcatcher.

Foxcatcher is the story of the relationship between billionaire John du Pont (played by Carell) and Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum). It is based on true events, although there is some dispute about the accuracy of some plot points.

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Mark Schultz won a gold medal in wrestling in the 1984 Olympics, but despite this has almost no self confidence. He lives in the shadow of his older brother David, who also won a gold medal for wrestling in the 1984 Olympics. David has more personality and is happily married with a beautiful wife and wonderful kids. The athletic  community knows David, but thinks of Mark as just “the other Schultz brother.”

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Mark’s life suddenly changes when he is invited to the estate (Foxcatcher Farms) of John du Pont. At the time, the du Ponts were the wealthiest family in the United States. John du Pont has built a state of the art training facility on Foxcatcher Farms, and is coaching wrestlers to compete at the next Olympics.

du Pont offers Mark everything Mark has ever dreamed of. Mark is offered a chance to train with and help coach the best wrestlers in the country, and to do it all without his older brother.  Mark can’t resist and soon moves onto Foxcatcher Farms.

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However, there is always something very strange about John du Pont. We are never quite sure if he is an eccentric billionaire, or just plain crazy.  He collects weapons of all kinds, including an armored personnel carrier, complete with 0.50 caliber machine gun. Although in late middle age he is still striving for praise fro his mother, which he never receives.

Despite his odd manners, du Pont becomes a mentor and father figure for Mark Schultz. He takes Mark to lavish parties in New York, and introduces him to famous and wealthy people.  Most of all he praises Mark continually and tells Mark that he is far superior to his older brother David.

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This is a brilliantly done film, and all of the actors in it are excellent. Mark Ruffalo is perfect as David Schultz and the interactions between Steve Carell and Channing Tatum are riveting to watch.  The movie has a slow building tension that explodes at the end of the film in a dramatic and unexpected way.

We Rate this movie 5 Stars *****

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