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Foxcatcher (2014)

One of the best things about seeing a movie based on a true story is if you don’t know what is going to happen. I know it sounds obvious, but it is true. This is why I am mad that people ruin movies in movie reviews, which is why I probably was not as affected by “Foxcatcher” as I wanted to be (I read a movie review of the film and the reviewer mentioned the outcome in the first paragraph or so.) Do yourself a favor: If you don’t know what happens, DON’T find out until you see the film. (No, I will not spoil the film).

The film stars Channing Tatum as Mark Schultz, a gold medal winner in wrestling at the 1984 Olympics. The movie opens up with him training with his equally (if not slightly better) brother David (Mark Ruffalo). Their parents having divorced when they were kids, they really have only themselves to take care of each other (despite David being married and having two kids).

All this changes when Mark is called upon and sponsored by the rich John DuPont (Steve Carrell, yes Steve Carrell). It is here that I will no longer talk about the plot, except to say not all goes as well as either men planned. Channing Tatum is not always known for his acting ability, but I found him to be very affective as the troubled, somewhat socially awkward athlete. Mark Ruffalo (who is a very underrated actor) slips into the role with unnatural ease, and we hardly see acting at all so much as him just being the character. However, the showstopper is Steve Carrell. His voice is the only thing that is easily recognizable, but not that easy. Sounding like his character is out of breath the whole time, his Dupont is friendly one moment, then beyond creepy the next. In short, Carrell is beyond excellent.

One thing that confused me a bit about the film was the music. There was hardly any. This film is very quiet. My feeling is because that is the atmosphere that must have been present in the Du Pont home life (which makes sense when you hear a story John tells about a childhood friend.)

Also, for the first time in my life, here is a movie that is Rated R and does not have a single curse word in it. There is no sexuality (there is brief male rear nudity from afar, but that is due to a weigh in). There is one scene of violence, but I would say it is no worse than any you would find in a PG-13 movie) and two scenes of cocaine use. That is it. Parents, this movie should be ok for anyone in High School (maybe even mature middle schoolers).

Basically, “Foxcatcher” may not be for everyone, but I would still recommend a viewing for anyone who likes the sport of Olympic Wrestling, or fans of extremely raw, natural acting. If so, it is worth the price of admission.

Overall: 3 Stars ***

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