Foxcatcher – a terrific biopic, an Oscar buzz

Foxcatcher – a terrific biopic

Directed by Oscar-nominated Bennett Miller (Moneyball) and based on a real story, Foxcatcher narrates the dark and complex relationship between a wrestling coach and two Olympic gold winners that ended tragically in the year 1996. On January 26thof that year eccentric multi-millionaire John Du Pont shot and killed wrestler Dave Schultz, a 1984 gold medallist, who was then preparing for a comeback in the 1996 Atlanta games.

I don’t think it’s apt here to check out the accuracy of events and incidents that took place then but if we go through the storyline of the film, it would be pretty clear for all of us to understand the whole thing. The movie starts with the individual wrestling practice sessions of Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) who even though an Olympic medallist himself still lives under the shadow of his elder brother Dave Schultz who is now married and has two kids.

Watch the ‘Foxcatcher’ Movie Trailer

When Mark gets an offer from wealthy heir John Du Pont (Steve Carell) to come and join his team at a state-of-the-art training facility ahead of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Mark jumps to this opportunity hoping to gain the kind of name and fame his brother has been enjoying for long. On the other side, the motives of Du Pont are also similar who wants to impress his disapproving mother (played by Vanessa Redgrave) and his peers by mentoring and coaching a team of American wrestlers.

Lured by the opportunity and of course the affability of Du Pont, Mark enthusiastically joins him with much hope and even requested his brother Dave to join them which the latter refused citing family commitments. Although it all seems promising at the Foxcatcher training facility in the dramatic world of Du Pont, Mark gets driven by the senseless will of his mentor and even consumed cocaine, falling into an unhealthy lifestyle. The relation between the two goes downhill when Mark couldn’t convince Dave to join Team Foxcatcher.

Miller yet again has directed a feature film with utmost honesty in depicting a real-life drama of three different personalities who are in search of love, fame, and redemption that ended with a heartbreaking tragedy. Tatum, as a reclusive and childlike Mark, is well supported by Mark Ruffalo as a genuinely concerned, protective and loving elder brother Dave. On the other side, Steve Carell has certainly nailed the portrayal of John Du Pont with an unusual mannerism and awkward conversation style which is almost comedic.

Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo in the movie "Foxcatcher"
Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo in the movie “Foxcatcher”

Nevertheless, Foxcatcher with three terrific performances from its lead actors is a worthy cinematic piece in this award season. The film overall is a character study while it has very successfully narrated the whole story behind that tragic incident in American sports history. In the end, what we saw is the love between two brothers and the hatred of a multi-millionaire former athlete who turned himself a psychotic murderer in an emotionally charged triangular relation.

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Film: Foxcatcher
Genre: Biopic, Crime Drama
Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller
Directed by: Bennett Miller
Released year/date: January 16, 2015

This post is written, edited and published by the Cinecelluloid staff.

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