Steve Carell is unrecognizable in Foxcatcher

Steve Carell is unrecognizable in Foxcatcher

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Over Christmas Break I heard of a movie called Foxcatcher. When I realized that the movie was about wrestling, is based on a true story, and stars The Offices’ Steve Carell, I figured I had better watch it. With Steve Carell being one of the lead actors, I was expecting perhaps a comedy or at least a feel-good sports movie. I was shocked at the bleak, dark, and unhappy film.

The movie starts with Olympic wrestler Mark Shulz training for the World Championship Tournament. Despite being a former Olympian, he is living in poverty and is looking for odd jobs just to get by. One day Schulz is contacted by eccentric millionaire John E. Du Pont who invites him to his estate. While there, Du Pont shows Shultz his private wrestling facility and tells him that he is starting his own team with all the best wrestlers in the world, and that he wants Shultz to be the coach. Schulz accepts and they go about trying to become the best wrestling team in the world. 

Fans of Steve Carell who are expecting his comedy will be gravely disappointed. Carell plays the unstable Du Pont, who lives alone with his mother. Right from the beginning it is clear that there is something off with Du Pont. In one scene, Du Pont casually strolls into the wrestling facility while holding a gun. When he fails to garner the attention of the wrestlers, he points the gun towards the ceiling and pulls the trigger. In another scene, Du Pont is having a conversation with Schultz and casually displays and snorts a vile of cocaine. He urges Shultz to try it and he does, effectively hooking him on it for the rest of the movie. Later on, Du Pont makes a habit of waking Shulz up in the middle of the night for “practice” when in reality the sexual undertones of the scene make it clear what is really happening.

Du Pont and Mark Shultz are seen becoming closer and closer throughout the movie, until one day when Schulz decides to give his wrestlers a day off. Du Pont calls him an “ungrateful ape” and slaps him. He decides that he made a mistake by offering Mark the coaching job and that he should have offered the job to Mark’s brother Dave. Du Pont fires Mark on the spot and offers the job to Dave who accepts.

Mark getting fired and replaced by his brother Dave is very hard for him and he is shown as very angry and bitter throughout the rest of the movie. When his brother tries to make amends, Mark essentially ignores him and isolates himself from the rest of the team.

Meanwhile, Du Pont has been trying to become someone in the wrestling community to no avail. He holds a tournament where he pays his opponents to let him win in what is a sad publicity stunt. His mother is unimpressed and refuses to let him display his wrestling trophy in the display because “wrestling is a low sport.” In one heartbreaking scene, Du Ponts’ mother stops by a wrestling practice only to leave a few moments later after being unimpressed with Du Pont’s wrestling skills. 

  Obsessed with living through his wrestlers vicariously, Du Pont hopes that his team will do well at the Olympic Tryouts. Mark finds it difficult to focus on his training due to his budding cocaine addiction, anger issues, and the embarrassment of being fired and replaced with his brother. 

After losing his first match at the Olympic Tryouts, Mark Shultz goes on an eating binge and gains 12 pounds after eating an entire room service pizza. His brother Dave finds him and informs him that he has to make weight in an hour. Desperate to lose the 12 pounds, Shultz forces himself to vomit and frantically rides a stationary bike in a last ditch effort to make weight.

While Schultz is pedaling, Du Pont is furious that one of his top wrestlers could possibly miss weight. He attempts to get at Mark but Marks’ brother Dave holds him back. Du Pont is furious, but Mark ends up making weight and winning the match.

After the Olympic tryouts and death of his mother, Du Pont’s mental state continues to deteriorate until one day he takes his frustrations out on former coach Dave Shultz. Du Pont was presumably still mad at him for protecting his brother Mark from his wrath. In the climax of the movie, Du Pont drives up to David Shultz and shoots him three times after yelling, “You got a problem with me?” Shultz dies in the arms of his crying wife. This was a shocking end to a movie who stars someone who I am familiar seeing in comedies and happy productions.

I most likely would not recommend this movie to anyone. It is just kind of depressing, especially when one considers the fact that it is based on a true story. For the most part, the movie is fairly dull and uneventful, and I found myself somewhat bored. If someone is looking for a wrestling movie, I would recommend Win Win.

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