In the profoundly silent first moments of the film we watch a solitary wrestler in a balletic performance with an anthropomorphic partner; Mark Schultz, Olympic Gold medalist, practices his quintessential wrestling techniques; Channing Tatum gives the greatest performance of his career as this lost, isolated athlete, living in the shadow of his older brother (17 months), Dave, also an Olympic Gold medalist; except for his prowess as a wrestler, financially bereft, little else informs his existence, until he receives a phone call from John Eleuthere du Pont a scion of one of America’s wealthiest families, whose love of wrestling gives birth to “Foxcatcher” a state-of-the-art training camp for prospective champions; nestled in the bucolic, baronial multi-acre du Pont estate in Newtown, Pa.
Steve Carell, physically transformed, imbues du Pont with kilted idiosyncrasies; untold wealth has eliminated boundaries, parameters possessed by most mortals; he sees in Mark the gifted sycophant he craves in his quest to make the United States the penultimate champion of wrestling; the relationship initially thrives, father/son familiarity ensues, but du Pont needs Dave Schultz to complete his magnificent obsession. Brilliant Mark Ruffalo as “Dave” is anchored, ebullient, a dedicated, loving brother and family man, secure in himself and his priorities. Finally acquiescing to du Pont’s burgeoning pleas to coach the Foxcatcher team; never a premonition, not an oblique insight as to the outcome of this troika.
Director Bennett Miller, writers E. Max Faye and Dan Futterman in “Foxcatcher” toy with issues of manhood, loyalty, addiction, stymied effects of boundless wealth; lyrically, the catastrophic events of 1996 evolve, gifting audiences one the most intelligent, luminous, stunningly- performed and crafted films of the year.
FOUR & 1/2 STARS!!!!