Masterful direction in true life sports drama

editorial image

Foxcatcher Farm was a training facility, home to the US Olympic wrestling team. Coached by Dave Schultz, its brightest hopeful was his younger brother Mark.

Both were gold medallists, but Mark lived in the shadow of his sibling. Mark is given a chance of individuality when approached by millionaire John du Pont. A disturbed eccentric loner, du Pont has a kinship with Mark. He seeks acceptance through sport; with his eyes on becoming the top coach in America, he founds Foxcatcher Farm and enlists Dave Schultz as assistant coach. Exhibiting increasingly erratic behaviour, du Pont’s obsession leads to tragedy.

Based on Mark Schultz’s autobiography, Foxcatcher takes some liberties with the story. The time line is muddled, with some events depicted almost a decade before they occurred. The strength of Foxcatcher is its inspired direction and three principal performers. As du Pont, Steve Carell does a chillingly effective job. Sporting a protruding lower jaw and cauliflower ears, Channing Tatum is rendered unrecognisable as Mark Schultz and Mark Ruffalo is terrific as his brother. Bennett Miller’s direction is masterful, exposing the simmering, disconcerting undercurrent in this true life sports drama.