Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Despite the fact of both being gold medal winning wrestlers at the 1984 L.A. Olympics, Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) has always lived under the shadow of his older brother and father figure Dave (Mark Ruffalo). When he is contacted by John Du Pont (Steve Carell), the mentally unstable heir to the colossal chemical company's fortune, to lead a group of grapplers at the '88 games in Seoul and train at Du Pont's pastoral Valley Forge neighboring estate, it seems like a prime opportunity for Mark to branch out on his own. However, when relations between him and Du Pont sour and it becomes all to clear that it was Dave all along who had been targeted to lead the troops, it spurs Mark into a downward spiral and leads all involved into unforeseeable and unspeakable tragedy. Bennett Miller, a director who is particular about his projects but is slowly but surely building one of the finest resumes in film (Capote, Moneyball), offers a dark, involving, and deliberately paced character study featuring foreboding landscapes which harken back to his work on Capote as well as a shocking, unsettling finale. Tatum and Ruffalo deliver phenomenal performances, both emotionally and physically, making it clear as to what must have been months of grueling preparation. Carell appears almost subhuman in both manner and appearance, but proves entirely eerie and effective.
*** 1/2 out of ****