Foxcatcher is based on the true story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum), who is approached by reclusive millionaire John Du Pont (Carrell) to form a new Olympic wrestling team. Tensions soon arise between the pair, causing Du Pont to bring in Mark’s trainer and brother Dave (Ruffalo) to help manage the team – a move that ends in tragedy.
With Miller’s sombre eye for detail, Foxcatcher is an atmospheric feature. With the feeling of isolation and its stark appearance, it is easy to pick up on Du Pont’s sheltered lifestyle that may have attributed to his psychological issues. Miller demonstrates an ability to capture the solitude of a character and how the mind works in such seclusion, bringing out different side effects in his main characters. In effect, the direction, as well as Futterman and Frye’s script, are stripped down, allowing the starring trio to dominate the screen and they do so, with gusto.
Tatum has his best role to date as the determined Mark, whose struggle for acceptance ultimately lands him in a tug-of-war between his brother and his sponsor, whereas Ruffalo portrays a more well-rounded character as Dave’s commitment to his family doesn’t stray him into having lofty career ambitions. Carrell gives a stunning performance as the unbalanced Du Pont, whose over-indulgent self-publicity cover up his own insecurities and waivering sanity, which ultimately lead him down a dark path that is both chilling and unsettling to watch.
Foxcatcher is compelling, sinister and thought-provoking with stellar performances from the male leads, especially Carrell – acting award nominations in the 2015 season are a given.