Some comic actors have proven over the years that they have great ability as serious actors too. Add Steve Carell’s name to that list. I’m confident he’ll get an Oscar nomination for his work in the gripping motion picture, “Foxcatcher.”
In “Foxcatcher,” Carell plays John du Pont, a member of one of the richest families in the world. He and his mother, played by Vanessa Redgrave, live on the family estate called Foxcatcher in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Based on actual events, “Foxcatcher” is set immediately prior to the 1988 summer Olympic games. Du Pont was married at the time and in the movie his wife is referred to, but she’s not portrayed by anyone.
Du Pont is obsessed with the sport of wrestling. He recruits, using large financial incentives, Olympic Gold Medalist Mark Schultz, played convincingly by Channing Tatum, and later his brother, played by Mark Ruffalo, to move to his estate and train there for the next Olympic competitions. In fact, Du Pont buys his way into becoming the coach of the entire U. S. Olympic wrestling team and sets up elaborate training facilities on his estate.
Schultz and his brother gradually begin to feel the pressure of Du Pont’s madness of privilege. Du Pont’s regular use of cocaine doesn’t help this issue.
“Foxcatcher” affords Carell an opportunity to recreate Du Pont the privileged madman, and he does it convincingly. Carell portrays the growing menace of John Du Pont in frightening and unpredictable ways. Eventually, the self-styled patriot goes so far from reality he becomes power-crazed in a most destructive way.
Steve Carell gives a truly unforgettable performance in “Foxcatcher.”