There’s an old classic Beatles tune called Can’t Buy Me Love. Money is the first word of this catchy lyric and some wise men/women believe cash is the root of all evil. Don’t try telling that to one of the leading characters in Foxcatcher, a dynamic tale from Sony Pictures Classics now showing at The Fifth avenue Cinemas and International Village Cinemas.
Based on a true story Foxcatcher focuses in on elite wrestling in the U.S. In the 1980s. Out to champion the cause of good old American supremacy on the mat is one John du Pont. Born rich this is one determined madman with a rather large bank account and heir to the chemical company fortune. Who better than funny man Steve Carell (Get Smart) to carry the torch as a demanding eccentric out to win gold for America at the Olympics.
To coach and win you need a loyal, hungry student. Enter into the fray Mark Schultz whose good in the ring but too experienced in the life department . Colour him a new born man In the mould of Rocky Balboa with Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street) hunkering down and beefing up as the bronze warrior.
Aside from effective one on one mana a mana encounters at wrestling tournaments Foxcatcher’s soul derives from the student/coach relationship. Also at play here is the whole process of mentoring and the way money can influence outcomes.
Family matters also are deftly handled here with Mark Ruffalo (Zodiac) equally strong as Mark’s caring brother David. People who don’t know the history of this sport or the involvement of the wealthy du Ponts will find this 134 minute movie fascinating and insightful. Sports voyeurs and those into the excesses of the rich and famous will find Foxcatcher vastly entertaining with a possible Oscar nomination nod to Carell for his efforts here.
Put another feather in director Bennett Miller’s (Moneyball) cap who here makes wrestling look chic.
By Robert Waldman