Good, but could have been better. Foxcatcher is one of those movies, that had an above average script but the direction could have been better. Biopics are always a treat to watch and generally are a sure-shot winner at most awards, but considering the movies that have been nominated this year for the Academy Awards, Foxcatcher is going to have a tough competition from the other biopic nominees like, The Theory of Everything and American Sniper. Nevertheless, this movie like every other biopic has managed to convey a message as well as capture the essence of each character.
Mark Shultz (Played by Channing Tatum) is a professional wrestler who had won a gold medal in his weight category in the 23rd Olympics meet. The movie starts one year before the 24th Olympics meet. Mark is shown to be doing rigorous training with his elder brother Dave Shultz (Played by Mark Ruffalo), who also is an Olympic gold medalist. Right from the start of the movie, Mark is shown as an introvert and taciturn. He has gauche fraternizing skills and due to this he has a non-existent social life. Dave is avuncular towards his younger brother, but ends up over-shadowing him when it came to wrestling. Mark was never recognized enough for his talents and accomplishments.
One fine day, Mark gets a call, asking him to visit a John du Pont (Played by Steve Carell). In his first meeting with Mark, John introduces himself as a staunch patriot. His ideas and views about the sport of wrestling come out extremely well through his cogency and volubility. But as the movie progresses, John’s eloquence deteriorates and he becomes extremely gauche with his public presentation. John offers to be Mark’s benefactor and Mark accepts. Both of them, start training for the World Championships under Foxcatcher Wrestling and Mark goes onto win the gold medal in the World Championships. Due to this, Foxcatcher Wrestling becomes extremely popular and starts to get candidates from all over the country. Mark is extremely dedicated towards training and due to this John starts to turn into a martinet. When Mark, gives the students a day off, John feels offended and assaults him. This causes a falling out between the two. John tries to placate him unsuccessfully for the rest of the movie.
In his anger, John calls Dave to become his assistant-coach. Dave had earlier rejected the same offer, but this time John ensured he got his man. Mark had just started coming out of his shell, but with his brother’s arrival, he starts to militate against both John and Dave, which causes disruptions in the relationship between the brothers. Mark starts doing drugs, his training schedule is completely disrupted, he had set his career on a suicidal course when his brother with his avuncular nature helps him get back on track. Mark wishes to leave the Foxcatcher Wrestling academy after the 24th Olympics meet in Seoul, but John manages to get himself in Mark’s corner for the meet. Mark couldn’t get over his malevolence for John and that cost him losing out at Seoul. Dave understands why that happened and moves on, but John doesn’t. His attachment to accomplishments in wrestling causes him to become a homicidal sociopath and due to Mark’s failure in Seoul, he ends up murdering Dave. Mark retires from professional wrestling right after Seoul and enters entertainment wrestling, which then was considered the lowest form of the sport.
There are various aspects to John’s character, like his equestrian mother who never appreciated him and always wished he would turn out be like her. She was a megalomaniac and John recognized that. John had grown too attached to wrestling and had adulated Mark in public so much, that people started considering him as a Proud foster-father. Steve Carell has broken the common belief about him being just a comedian. With this portrayal, he has given a new turn to his career as an actor. Channing Tatum, also has outdone himself, he has completely immersed himself in the role of Mark, he adopted a wrestler’s body language, a wrestler’s speech, even went onto learn amateur wrestling for all the wrestling scenes. Mark Ruffalo, has always intrigued me as an actor, in certain movies he seems extremely eccentric, but in certain movies, you just can’t find anyone better to take up the role. The movie tends to get extremely boring and laggy right before and after the mid-point, and is a touch-bit too long for someone’s liking. If you aren’t into sports or aren’t an inveterate fan of biopics, I suggest you give this one a miss.
My rating for Foxcatcher: 7.4/10