‘Foxcatcher’ has to be one of my favourite movies so far in this Festival, thanks mainly to the surprise of seeing the usually comedic Steve Carell portray John du Pont, a man who lacks any humour.
I knew beforehand that Carell was in the movie, but didn’t recognise him when he first appeared on the screen. He has immersed in the character and morphed into a man with a different stature and energy, who bears no resemblance to the Steve Carell of ‘The Office’.
The movie is based on a tragic true story. Like Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, John du Pont is a powerful man with a flaw. He single-mindedly wants to be a hero who gains the respect he wants in the sports world…and the approval he craves from his mother!
To achieve his goal, the incredibly wealthy Du Pont invited Olympic Gold Medal winning wrestler Mark Schultz (played by Channing Tatum) to move onto his estate and and form a team to train for the ’88 Seoul Olympics. Lured by the cutting edge training facility and the thought of no longer have any financial stress, Schultz jumps at the offer.
It also allows him a little freedom and independence from his brother Dave who is loved and respected by everyone. But there’s a reason he’s so widely loved. He’s one of those guys who follows his heart, who’s a good guy without ulterior motives…unlike our Du Pont. And he’s perfectly portrayed by the ever-affable Mark Ruffalo (who also happens to be a supporter of the anti-fracking movement in South Africa).
The story is heartbreaking and multi-layered. About brotherhood. About unequal partnerships. How flattery can blind. What money can buy. And what money can destroy. And how many things money actually can never buy. Like true respect, true love and true acceptance.
Expertly directed by Bennett Miller – who poured his life and soul into this film – the cinematography, the location (an expansive estate in America) and the incredible acting by these actors come together to create a movie that’s well worth watching and that raises questions about life and how best to live it.