Two brothers, both former Olympic wrestling champions (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) become involved in a fateful and fatal friendship with a neurotic millionaire (Steve Carell), in this true-life drama from director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) that is already one of the year’s most buzzed-about films.
A mesmerizing hybrid of true crime and sports drama, Foxcatcher is destined to be one of the year's most talked-about films. It tells the fascinating, tragic story of wrestling champions Mark and Dave Schultz; specifically, the two brothers' fateful encounter with multi-millionaire coach John du Pont. Exemplifying the greatest strengths of Academy Award-nominated director Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher locates a balance of excitement and burgeoning dread, and keeps us firmly in its hold until its harrowing finish.
When we first meet Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum), he's already on the far side of his career peak. Since winning the gold at the 1984 Olympics, his life has been reduced to a lonesome routine of training, enlivened only by the occasional speaking engagement. When Mark is invited by John du Pont (Steve Carrell) to join the US team preparing for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, he asks his brother to take part, but the smarter, more seasoned Dave (Mark Ruffalo, also appearing at the Festival in Infinitely Polar Bear) refuses to uproot his family for the sake of glories already achieved.
Mark moves to du Pont's sprawling estate and becomes enveloped in a cocoon of wealth and eccentricity. Gun-loving, self-aggrandizing, and fiercely patriotic, du Pont spoils Mark with gifts and praise, even while pushing his limits with relentless training. Dave is eventually coaxed into joining Mark on "Team Foxcatcher," but there is something disquieting about du Pont's generosity. As they near a triumph at the Seoul Olympics, Mark's pent-up rage threatens to collide with du Pont's fevered paranoia, and the combination is disastrous.
The trio of stars play off one another brilliantly — and Carrell is worthy of special note, transforming himself into the pale, soft-spoken, and ominous du Pont.
Benefitting from meticulous detail, Foxcatcher echoes Miller's previous true-story films Capote and Moneyball in its depiction of American ambition and the cold-blooded pursuit of success.