Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo star in Foxcatcher, the Oscar-nominated film based on the shocking true story of an Olympic wrestler and his brother's destructive encounter with bizarre multimillionaire John E. Du Pont.
After Tatum's wrestler Mark Schultz is called in by the wealthy entrepreneur (and avid bird watcher) to his vast estate, he is promptly hired to train for Du Pont (Carell) as part of the Foxcatcher team in the hope that another Olympic win lies ahead. Unfortunately, Du Pont's strange behaviour becomes something of a problem as it becomes quite clear that he's not quite the talented wrestling coach he painted himself out to be. Add to that a drug problem, an odd relationship with his mother (played by Vanessa Redgrave) and some altogether inappropriate behaviour and you've got yourself one awkward training environment for Schultz to say the least. Things take a turn for the worse when Du Pont hires Mark's brother David (Ruffalo) to train his team and the film slowly but surely leads us to its frighteningly bleak conclusion.
The mood of the film could be compared to Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler, which also had a grey and gritty feel to it. You can sense the impending doom about to hit these characters from the start yet when it does, it still makes an impact. The entire cast is spot-on, both Tatum and Ruffalo giving serious, convincing performances and Carell stealing the show as a fascinatingly unhinged character. That the film received nothing at the Academy Awards for its efforts is a shame since this was easily one of the best and most memorable films of last year. The fact that this depressing series of events was based on a true story certainly adds a layer of unease to the whole thing so maybe Foxcatcher was just too dark for the Oscars.
While not exactly a bundle of fun, Foxcatcher remains a film that's well worth watching, especially for its terrific performances. This is one movie that will stay with you for a while.