October 09, 2015

Film Review—Foxcatcher

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is an Olympic Gold Medal wrestler struggling to make ends meat while preparing for the next Olympic Games. He trains with his brother David (Mark Ruffalo), a fellow gold medalist and coach, who raised Mark in the absence of their father. Mark receives an invitation from John E. du Pont (Steve Carell), of the wealthy du Pont family, who wishes to establish an Olympic wrestling team with Mark and David coaching. John and Mark form a strong bond, but this is overshadowed by John's overbearing mother, Jean, the Foxcatcher Estate matriarch, and his increasing jealousy of the closeness Mark shares with his brother.

The film’s strength is the performances by Ruffalo and in particular Tatum and Carell as the damaged duo seeking fulfilment. The mix of seeking both a father figure and a brother or friend marks their connection and explains the depth of the disconnection that occurs. The negotiations between friendship and dependency complicate the relationship, as do the need both Mark and John have for acceptance from their parental figures while at the same time trying to transcend the confines of those relationships. With both already having strong links with dependency they find themselves dragging each other with in their downward spirals, with personal hopes and dreams left on the wayside.

A portrait of the conflict between bonds and selfhood, Foxcatcher provides engaging performances and an arresting story.

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