Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it can buy an Olympic wrestling team. Foxcatcher is the real-life story of Olympic gold-medal winning wrestlers Mark and Dave Schultz and their multi-millionaire philanthropist coach John du Pont as they push to bring home the gold at the 1988 Summer Olympic Games. But at what cost does it take to be the very best? And no, we’re not just talking about money here, either.
Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) won a gold medal for wrestling at the 1984 Olympics, but despite this he is still struggling to get out from the shadow of his older brother and training partner Dave (Mark Ruffalo), who also won gold at the same Olympics. Struggling financially as well, Mark finds the perfect opportunity to prove himself when the wealthy John du Pont (Steve Carell) offers up his Foxcatcher Farms as a training facility and sponsor. Under the promise of Olympic gold, John funds Mark and a team of athletes. As the games near and the stakes become greater, relationships will be pushed to their breaking point.
Sports films are typically your run-of-the-mill underdog stories where athletes rise up against the odds to overcome their much more powerful opponents. Foxcatcher is not one of these films. It’s far from it, as a matter of fact. It’s a disturbing look into the ambitions and struggles of Mark Schultz and the relationships that surround him.
Channing Tatum does an absolutely amazing job portraying the Olympic wrestler and facing his inner demons. He brings a ferocity to the role that’s difficult to match. Not only does he fit the whole wrestler look spot on, but he also manages to be completely vulnerable at times. Mark is constantly looking for acceptance, both from from his brother Dave and from his coach/mentor John du Pont. Both are like father figures to him, albeit in different ways, and both manage to push him away.
Foxcatcher can be considered one of the scariest films of the year, and it’s Steve Carell’s performances that cements this idea. Not only does he look absolutely terrifying in all that makeup, but his mannerisms are so disturbingly unsettling. For him, money can buy anything. He essentially buys an Olympic wrestling team, crowning himself head coach and the driving force behind everything that makes them good. At one point he gets Dave to say how great a mentor and coach he is in front of a camera crew for a documentary he’s making. John “The Golden Eagle” du Pont gets what he wants, and if he doesn’t you can bet that things will go south very quickly. There’s always this constant fear and worry that he could snap at any moment.
Foxcatcher chronicles the chilling events that happened at Foxcatcher Farms and the downward spiral of Mark and Dave Schultz. It’s an intense and thrilling drama with standout performances all around. You won’t see anything like it this year.