From Director Bennitt Miller, the man who brought us CAPOTE and MONEY BALL comes the real life story of John E DuPont and his acquisition of Olympians Mark and David Schultz to lead his wrestling team – FOXCATCHER – to the 1988 Seoul Olympics in his new film by the same name – FOXCATCHER.
Struggling to see who is the better wrestler, Mark (Channing Tatum) and David (Mark Ruffalo) are striving to continue their reign as US Olympic champions in wrestling. Like most brother relationships, Mark and David seem to always be in competition with one another, as David seems to think he’s better than his little brother, and is more than happy to prove it as often as possible.
Enter John DuPont (Steve Carell), heir to the DuPont fortune, who wants to create an elite team of wrestlers – known as FOXCATCHER to win him a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics. John senses that Mark might want to break away from his big brother for a while, so he offers him “a job” – which is to become the greatest wrestler in the world. Mark is thrilled at the opportunity, and the new lifestyle he is quickly taking a liking to, courtesy of Mr. DuPont.
When his extracurricular activities start to supersede his focus on wrestling, and winning the gold for DuPont, DuPont brings in big brother David to straighten out Mark, and to take on the position of Lead Instructor for his team. Mark is blown away when it seems that David has now taken “the chosen” role from him in DuPont’s eyes, and is beginning to see that maybe there is way to much craziness surrounding him to stick around.
Bound and determined to continue his wrestling career, Mark removes himself from under DuPont’s hold, and hopes that his brother David will do the same. David decides that he is staying put, as he has a wife and children to provide for, and he likes the arrangement he has secured with DuPont just fine…
Will Mark be able to win the Gold in Seoul with or without his brother and DuPont? Will John DuPont achieve his goal of producing a winning team, or crack under the pressure of his “privileged life’? And will David wake up to what DuPont is really all about before it is too late?
I give FOXCATCHER a C – I was really excited to see Tatum, Carell and Ruffalo on screen together, as they are all very talented actors, and having known the story of John DuPont and his tragic life, I was pretty much prepared for the story to play out. But I could not have guessed that Tatum would end up being the stand out actor in this film for me- which he was – as I was certain that Carell playing a different type role than we are accustomed to seeing him portray would be the stand-out performance. Sadly, it WAS NOT!! Ruffalo’s material wasn’t significant enough for him to stand out either, even though I usually love his work too. I just found myself wanting more around each and every turn, but the storyline and premise of the film kept dragging on, and on, and on. So, suffice to say, even though I absolutely love all there of the actors in this film, FOXCATCHER played out as an average film, with an average storyline, and I was just hoping for SO MUCH MORE. If you love wrestling, or want to learn the tragic story of the DuPont Family, then you really might want to see this film, but if you are looking for a fantastic sports film that will move you with phenomenal performances by some of the most talented actors of this decade, …well, this isn’t that film either…