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Foxcatcher

December 2, 2014
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This movie is based on an interesting true story. It could have been a good movie, but the ultra-slow pace and inadequate character development are its undoing.

To be fair, the film is accurate as to the actual events, and the actors involved look very much like the people in real life. The acting is also excellent. Steve Carell plays a very different type of person than he ever has before.

John du Pont (Steve Carell) wants to escape the shadow of his mother Jean (Vanessa Redgrave) who is a prominent horse breeder.  He decides to develop a major wrestling coaching center – Foxcatcher – on the grounds of the estate where he lives with his mother.

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo) are both gold medal olympic wrestling champions.  Dave is Mark’s mentor and coach but Mark also wants to be his own person and prove he can win another gold medal without Dave’s help.

John manipulates Mark into joining the Foxcatcher team by telling him he can make it without Dave; however, he really wants Dave, who at first refuses to join to avoid leaving his family, to lead the team.

Mark isn’t well adjusted and lives alone. His only close relationship is with Dave.  They apparently had a horrible childhood.  Dave is must better adjusted and has a wife and children.

The film primarily is about Mark’s relationship with John and what happens to his relationship with Dave after Mark comes under John’s influence. Unfortunately, the character development of the three leads, especially what is motivating John, is insufficiently fleshed out and, combined with the tortoise-like pace, makes for a poor entertainment experience.

I can’t say any more about the plot without ruining the movie, but, if you are curious, the events are public record.

I wouldn’t see the film unless you are familiar with the true story, find it interesting, and want to see what the movie did with it.

Rating 5.5-not worth renting

Dave

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