Foxcatcher (2014) Review

Based on a true story around Wrestling and John du Pont’s dream of having the US team training with him for Team Foxcatcher. His ultimate goal? To win a gold medal. So his first recruit Gold medal winner Mark Schultz.

The film starts by showing how Mark Schultz is surviving whilst also training for the 1988 Olympic games, three years after he won his gold medal. Not really the life you would expect him to be living, struggle for food and training with his gold medal winning brother David. It’s not a pretty picture at all, but everything changes when multimillionaire du Pont comes into the picture.

He has dreams and quickly drafts in Mark to his home and to establish a good base for wrestlers to train in ahead of the World Championships and Olympic Games. The facilities are fantastic that he had had build in the same grounds as his house, along with the horses his mother keeps.

It is clear early on that everything is going to be a lot more difficult than it first appears. David will not join Mark and this seems to have a very negative effect on his training. It takes a very long time to build everything up and I hate to have to say it but the film was very slow overall. I was expecting it to be a lot more engaging than it turned out to be, it is also quite possibly one of the quietest films I have ever watched (buying popcorn was a very bad idea).

The performances are brilliant I am not taking that away from anyone but when something is built up that much you still expect something more. You are left wondering what exactly is going to happen to make it really exciting, I can’t spoil what happens although a high possibility that you might already know the story.

What I will say though is I found it really interesting and fascinating that a man who had loads of money decided he wanted to enter the world of wrestling and paid his way in. Which can be related to many sports now, baring in mind this was almost 30 years ago now. So that part had me intrigued along with the fact that du Pont thought he could just become a coach and they would all respect him.

The awkward demonstration scene in front of his mother stands out for me, if you don’t totally understand the sport you will not be able to help out in coaching terms elite Olympic athletes. They will not even respect you as they will see that you don’t have a very good understanding of it all. So having money and actually being able to help with sport as a coach are two totally different things.

So I do feel that I have taken some things away from this film, but it was just way too slow that I honestly cannot imagine sitting though it again. The awards buzz for the performances are spot on, although Ruffalo has less screen time than I expected. I don’t really see it being worthy of winning anything for best film/picture, as it certainly isn’t for me.

Be prepared for a long slow journey, which does have a dramatic climax and it will actually leave you wanting a little bit more as it seems to just end.

12 thoughts on “Foxcatcher (2014) Review

  1. Great review. I love how subtle and detached this film is – quite unusual for a Hollywood film based on a true story. I can definitely appreciate why some viewers might find it frustratingly slow though. It’s much slower than I expected but the performances and the sinister tone just kept me hooked.


  2. I agree it’s slow. Bennett Miller often makes slow films. I thought it was fitting, though. Made it all the more cringe-worthy and suspenseful. Performances across the board are excellent. Nice review!


  3. I thought the lack of a huge climax actually made it all the more satisfying. (SPOILERS) The fact that Miller shot DuPont’s capture in an extreme long shot to where you can’t even make out the faces of the actors shows how little he cares for providing what we expect. (END SPOILERS) And there’s something kind of exhilarating about that, at least for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah I can understand where your coming from with that, I can’t really see myself watching this again in the future. But I think parts of it are haunting and will live long in my memory.


  4. Perfectly stated review! Thankfully before the screening I went to, I did no research on this and only knew the basics.. because it was a huge shock/surprise for me and a lot of the audience I could tell had the same reaction. Yeah it had some slow, plodding-ness to it.. Still liked it, but you’re right..not love. Lucky I got Steve Carell after the film to make some jokes that he didn’t have any makeup on at all! 🙂 and also Bennett Miller.. so that def, made it worth it!


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