Review: Foxcatcher

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The saying “Money is the root of all evil” has never more true than in this film.  John du Pont (Steve Carell) spent his whole life trying to win his mother’s approval and after her death, his unrealistic grip on reality finally snaps causing him to make some decisions from which his life will never recover.

Ranked by Forbes in 2009 as America’s eighth richest family, duPont was an ornithologist and conchologist, publishing several books on birds; a philatelist, coach, and sports enthusiast.

In the 1990s, becoming a prominent supporter for amateur sports in the United States and a sponsor for USA Wrestling, du Pont established a wrestling facility at his Foxcatcher Farm after becoming interested in that and the pentathlon events.  In 1997 he was convicted of the murder in the third degree of Dave Schultz, an Olympic champion freestyle wrestler. The court ruled du Pont to have been mentally ill…but not insane. Sentenced to prison du Pont died thirteen years later. in 2010. The story is retold in the true crime book Wrestling with Madness and the focus of the Sony Pictures Classics film…Foxcatcher.

Almost unrecognizable, Steve Carell is chilling as John duPont.  He very convincingly displays duPont’s madness in a eerily, creepy fashion where one is is left disturbed and elated at this performance all at once. Channing Tatum, in my opinion, will be proving all his critics wrong.  He is not just a “pretty boy”, but a movie star with the acting chops to back it up.  That brings us to Mark Ruffalo, who is stellar no matter what film he stars in.  His acting always reeks of reality and humanism of every character he inhabits.  These men, in my humble opinion are doing some of the best work of their careers.

Ironically enough, shortly after this film debuted at Sundance, another duPont heir, Robert H. Richards IV, received no jail time after raping his 3-year-old daughter. After confessing to this despicable crime, a judge sentenced him to probation claiming that he “will not fare well,” in prison.  I guess money can’t buy everything.

Foxcatcher is like watching a car crash on the 405 freeway that you just can’t turn away from nor can you shake how it makes you feel.  It’s a disturbing, intriguing, suspenseful, shocking and enlightening in ways that can’t be explained unless you see the film for yourself.  If you are in LA, you can catch it at the closing night of the AFI Film Festival.

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