A decent biopic

Renting Reels Blog

By: Kaitlyn McKay, Columnist

In “Foxcatcher,” Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) are Olympic gold medalists, who both competed in the 1984 Olympics and received a gold medal for wrestling. While Dave lives a comfortable life with his family, Mark constantly struggles for money. One day Mark is approached by John du Pont (Steve Carell), the heir to one of America’s most wealthy families, and asked to prepare his wrestling team for the World Championship.

Du Pont offers to pay Mark for this, and also desires to have Dave join his team as assistant coach. Mark is grateful to Du Pont, and the two begin to form a father-son relationship before their once positive relationship eventually falls apart.

“Foxcatcher” is a very slow, low-key movie. It is essentially, a story told as realistically as possible. It doesn’t follow a strict point-by-point plot, and most of the scenes are just the characters having conversation where not a whole lot happens.

Refreshingly, none of the characters are glorified as you witness their actions, and you make your own conclusions about them. In that sense, “Foxcatcher” is primarily a character study first, and a biopic second. This is why the final dark twist is so shocking. I personally did not know the true story, so I didn’t see it coming. However, if you’re familiar with the plot, and waiting the whole movie for that one specific moment, the dark twist is in the last five minutes of the film. The whole movie works as one big, very long slow burn leading up to that big reveal.

The actors are all solid, specifically Carell who plays the awkward, lonely “coach” who is the type of enthusiast who loves the sport, but knows nothing about it. His makeup is great, and aids in the creation of Carell’s character rather than just existing to show off the make up artist’s talent.

“Foxcatcher” is, in the end, a decent film, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not a grand epic like “Unbroken,” nor does it follow extraordinary human beings like in “The Theory of Everything” or “The Imitation Game.” Instead it follows a seemingly simple story and tries to express it as emotionally honest as possible, without being over the top.

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