Movie Review: “Foxcatcher” offers enthralling and deeper look at tragic events


Vincent Schultz, Managing Editor

“Foxcatcher,” is a film that largely builds on the theme of failure. We see the potential and the drive to surpass expectations. We see raw talent and promise to achieve greatness. But we also see that no matter how hard one may work, someone will always be second best.

Released Nov. 14, 2014, “Foxcatcher” is directed by Bennett Miller and stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo.

Based on true events, the film follows Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Schultz (Tatum) as he is invited by the wealthy John du Pont (Carell) to travel to his private estate to prepare for the 1988 Olympics.

Joining team Foxcatcher, Schultz sees the chance to step up and remove himself from the heavy shadow of his Gold Medalist brother, Dave (Ruffalo). However, as Mark trains under du Pont’s aggressive guidance; the three men would come to know conflict, struggle and ultimately, tragedy.

First and foremost, it’s important to note the brilliant performances throughout “Foxcatcher.” Both Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo have strong performances with Tatum in particular giving a glimpse of potential greatness as the troubled Olympic wrestler.

However, it’s of course Steve Carrel as the rich and controlling du Pont who steals the show. Seeing an actor with a comedy-intensive background devote himself to such a dark role is exciting. Carell’s performance is a welcomed change of pace that shows just how much he delved into the character.

Through superb direction, Miller perhaps offers his strongest film to date. Offering audiences layers of material that transcend what we see on screen.

The relationships that exists between the characters in the film is at times difficult to watch but all too relatable. As Mark continually does his best to achieve greatness and gain the approval of others, he often finds himself falling short.

Each character struggles with their own vices which only grow stronger with the films progression. Miller ambitiously plays on themes that not only mirror relationships between characters, but relationships in society as well.

On one end of the spectrum, we have the wealthy and manipulative du Pont, representing the upper class. On the other, we have the hardworking, physical Mark and Dave Schultz who emulate the struggles of the lower classes.

It’s a bold contrast given the films subject matter surrounding Olympic Wrestling. But the look beyond the scope of the film to show the roles we play in American culture is carried across seamlessly.

“Foxcatcher” is a film intertwined between promise and tragedy. With a strong story and an Oscar-worthy performance from Carell, Miller’s film is a must see.

I’m giving “Foxcatcher” 5/5 kernels.
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