Saying too much about Bennett Millers latest movie would, I'm sure, spoil it for many of you, as the movies climax was quite a shock for someone like me who knew nothing about the story before seeing the film! Based on a true story Foxcatcher (2013) was written for the screen by E Max Frye and Dan Futterman who also wrote the screenplay for Capote (2014), which Miller directed. The movie involves two different subcultures, wealth, money and self conceived power and the sport of wrestling, a rather under appreciated sport in modern day America.
When Bennett was originally approached with the story he knew immediately that this was a movie he had to make but it took some time to come to fruition. No one from the wrestling community wanted anything to do with the movie until John Giura joined the team as a trainer/technical adviser, which brought many other members of the wrestling community into the production. Giura was eventually given a producing credit. Set on Du Pont's 880-acre estate in New Town Pennsylvania, and with the original mansion Liseter Hall having been demolished, the filmmakers used Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia for the exterior filming and Wilpen Hall an 1899 mansion in the suburb of Sewickley Heights Pennsylvania for the interior filming.
The story concerns the relationship between two gold winning Olympic wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, and the American munitions multi millionaire, philanthropist and wrestling enthusiast John Eleuthere du Pont, a very different role for comedian Steve Carell who is almost unrecognisable with his ‘Roman’ nose. Du Pont sets himself up as the main benefactor of the US Wrestling team to take part in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games taking on Mark and then Dave to train Team Foxcatcher. It's a self indulgent project for one of the riches men in America at that time and demonstrates what he imagines his vast wealth can allow him to get away with.
Offering a great story, although slow paced and intense, it allows the three main leads to demonstrate career best performances with both Ruffalo and the unnerving Carell both receiving acting nominations at the 87th Academy Awards while Bennett was nominated for Best Director, an award he won at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Also in the movie are Vanessa Redgrave as du Pont's domineering horse loving mother and Sienna Miller as Dave Schultz wife Nancy. Don’t worry if you’re not a fan of wrestling, as I’m not, it will not spoil your enjoyment of this finely made, if somewhat gloomy, movie. Just treat at it as a metaphor for life - how the rich exploit people who are not fortunate enough have the same privileges they have.