134 min - Biography | Drama | Sport

Review: Matt Mungle

Often I will watch movies based on real events and wonder, "how in the world have I not heard of this story?".Such a film is FOXCATCHER. The story is intriguing, sad, and at times jaw dropping; yet all of it was news to me. Also it is possible that any fantastic news event that happened before the days of Facebook, Twitter, and the good old www just didn't get the traction it does now.

This story takes place in the mid 1980's and recounts the relationship between two famous olympians and the billionaire that would change their lives forever. Mark (Channing Tatum) and David (Mark Ruffalo) Schultz both won Olympic Gold in wrestling at the 1984 games. They had their eyes fixed on the '88 games when John du Pont (Steve Carell) stepped in and offered them a deal too good to be true. Always a fan of wrestling and with more money than he knew what to do with he offered to pay the brothers to let him sponsor them under his Foxcatcher name.He built state of the art facilities and laid everything they needed at their feet.It all ended in a tragedy that seems too horrific to be true.

Tatum does a solid job of capturing the style and demeanor of Mark Schultz. He is almost ape like in his posture and movements. Having always lived in his brother David's shadow Mark has a low self esteem and is screaming for someone to lead and guide him. That is more than likely what made him follow du Pont as he does. Channing really extends himself to make his character as self afflicting as he is. Magic Mike certainly has some drama chops as well.

Steve Carell has done a fairly decent job of showing us he can be dramatic. Films like The Way Way Back has shown he can step outside his Dinner for Schmucks shell. The issue with the execution of his character is how painfully stiff he performs. It felt as if he was uncomfortable in the facial prosthetics that he is obviously having to wear. He moves as if he is concerned that at any moment he face will crack or part of his nose will fall off. Maybe this is how John du Pont really was but for the film it is distracting and hard to watch.

What makes this a must see would be the story and Tatum's performance. But mainly the story. It is a well crafted drama and one that oozes awkward tension. Especially in the scenes were du Pont is trying to prove to his mother that he is a man who can stand on his own. The movie isn't about them but there is a side plot that lends itself to explaining why John is the way he is.

FOXCATCHER is rated R for some drug use and a scene of violence. Other than some intense dramatic themes the film isn't a hard R. Certainly it is made for adults and kids under 20 would be bored with it. But as far as content it really has nothing offensive in it. I give it 3 out of 5 arm bars. Not a perfect film but one good enough to watch at some point. Maybe as a renter.


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