channing tatum steps up in foxcatcher
Tatum, who previously admitted he’s still getting the hang of acting, shows himself a real force in a singlet.
Channing Tatum may play the rough-cut beefcake of Foxcatcher - out in the UK today - but it's a role that takes the former model, roofer and stripper a long way from Step Up and Dear John.
Tatum stars in Foxcatcher as real life US amateur wrestler Mark Schultz, seduced into working with weird multi-millionaire John DuPont [eerily played by Steve Carell] at the heir's estate in Philadelphia. DuPont was a philanthropist and a fantasist. He bought into the US wrestling squad wholesale in a bid for his own 80s Olympic glory.
Based on real life events, Foxcatcher follows Mark Schultz's journey into the heart of the DuPont dynasty darkness. He becomes DuPont's prize bull, caged and raging as he realises the trap he's gotten himself in. Still no one thinks to raise the alarm, as DuPont's behaviour becomes increasingly erratic, taking to cocaine, alcohol and brandishing firearms during training sessions. There's also the matter of his own army tank, but he's got the local police in his pocket too.
There's a palatable sense that things could go a bit Behind the Candelabra in Foxcatcher, as Mark dyes his hair and, bloated and drug fucked, accompanies his supposed mentor to suit'n'tie events. But Foxcatcher leaves any psychosexual undertones at that. In reality, DuPont was obsessed enough with another wrestler that he bequeathed most of his estate to him.
Sensing he's losing his prize wrestler, DuPont draws in Mark's elder brother and fellow wrestler Dave [Mark Ruffalo] to his web, which sees the film following its true life, tragic trajectory. DuPont, who is now dead, never offered any explanation for his actions, so the filmmakers (and audience) are left to fill in the spaces.
What's not in question is Tatum's acting ability. Whatever doubts he had, he's wrestled those into submission in Foxcatcher.
Text Colin Crummy