Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller, from a screenplay by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, is loosely based on real events. In a way, this film is similar to Winter’s Sleep, in that it portrays how wealth creates distances between people, although it is structurally quite different.

Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is an Olympic Gold Medal wrestler who is just barely scraping by financially. John du Pont (Steve Carell), an heir of the du Pont fortune, offers Schultz a job coaching a wrestling team that will train on the grounds of his family estate. As time goes by, however, Schultz realizes that du Pont actually wants to replace him with his more charismatic brother, Dave (Mark Ruffalo).

Du Pont is depicted as emotionally stunted and prone to self-delusion. It becomes clear that he is using the team both to promote himself and to fulfill his own fantasies about being an athlete. Both Mark and Dave Schultz work for him only because of the generous pay and state-of-the-art facilities he can afford to give them. In one scene, du Pont tells Mark that his only friend when he was growing up was the son of his mother’s chauffeur. He eventually found out that his mother was paying him to be his friend. Du Pont’s relationships with other people are all basically about money.

A sense of growing uneasiness pervades this film. Du Pont’s delusions of grandeur are combined with a hidden resentment of Mark and Dave. He envies them not just for their athletic ability, but also because they are situated in the real world in a way that he can never be. Their relationships with other people are not all defined by money. The film’s tragic climax is shocking, but at the same time oddly unsurprising. Foxcatcher is an examination of the subtly corrupting power of money.

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