Foxcatcher Review
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Sometimes, the strangest, most haunting films are the ones that were inspired by true storiesóstories so unexpected that no good writer would ever dream of penning them. Thatís certainly the case for director Bennett Millerís Foxcatcher, a quietly fascinating real-life sports drama thatís made memorable by its outstanding performances.

Foxcatcher tells the strange true story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). Following his gold medal win in 1984, Mark is contacted by multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) with an irresistible offer. du Pont has built a new wrestling facility, and he wants Mark and his brother, fellow gold medalist Dave (Mark Ruffalo), to put together a team to train for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Though Dave is reluctant to uproot his family, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Mark, whoís eager to break out of his brotherís shadow. But it soon becomes clear that the situation at Foxcatcher Farms is far from ideal.

  
 
Foxcatcher may be about an athlete whoís driven to succeed, but this isnít the typical inspirational sports drama. Itís darker and more deliberate, taking its time to introduce the characters and develop their relationships with help from the talented cast and their award-worthy performances.

In his starring role as Mark, Tatum shows surprising strength and depth. Itís an impressive turn for a guy who started out in dance movies and cheesy romances. But, unfortunately for Tatum, he finds himself in the shadow of two jaw-dropping performances from his supporting cast mates. Ruffalo, after all, is remarkable in his nearly unrecognizable role as Markís more outgoing older brother. But itís Carell who steals the show with his astounding transformation into the lonely heir whoís desperate to do something great and earn the respect of his disapproving mother (played by Vanessa Redgrave). John is an enigmaóa mysterious character whose awkwardness and quiet manipulation make the film all the more intriguing. And as he sets out to control the brothers in increasingly disturbing ways, often playing the two men against each other, the story becomes more troubling.

The performances are so absorbing, in fact, that the conclusion might catch you completely off-guardóespecially if you donít already know how it ends. And thatís the best way to experience this film. So if you donít know what happens at the end of this strange-but-true story, do yourself a favor: donít look it upóbecause the unexpectedness of the ending is what makes the movie truly unforgettable.

Foxcatcher is an eerie award season drama that offers up one surprise after anotherófrom the noteworthy performances to the haunting conclusion. Itís long and unhurried, and it sometimes seems a bit hazy, but the unexpected story and exceptional performances make it all worthwhile.


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