Is Channing Tatum’s “Foxcatcher” the Greatest Wrestling Film Ever Made?
If the Cannes buzz around it is any indication, Foxcatcher already has the Oscars in a headlock.
In the pantheon of great sports movies, wrestling is woefully underrepresented. Olympic-style wrestling, that is. There’s at least one great movie about baby oil and folding chair wrestling and it stars David Arquette in his finest role. But something about the world’s oldest sport doesn’t lend itself to cinematic interpretation in the same way as, say, bull riding or roller derby. Foxcatcher might be the film that changes that.
Set to hit stateside theaters in November, Foxcatcher is an eerie drama that’s lighting up Cannes right now. It stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo as Olympic wrestlers and brothers, along with Steve Carrell as their wealthy, weird coach. Critics are so in love with this movie it has some wondering if Channing Tatum, of Step Up 2: The Streets fame, might actually get an Oscar nod. Meanwhile, we’re wondering if Foxcatcher can do something even more unbelievable than win Tatum an Oscar, and become the first great wrestling movie.
All signs point to yes. Tatum and Ruffalo trained for half a year to make sure their wrestling was authentic. They even had the ugly ass ears to show for it. Choreographed by former NCAA Division 1 champion Jesse Jantzen, the wrestling is, as Variety critic Justin Chang put it, “superbly convincing, shot in clean, long takes that allow viewers a clear sense of bodies in motion.”
Really though, Foxcatcher didn’t have to be all that good to rise to the top of the wrestling movie heap. The only other movie that even warrants mention is Vision Quest, in which Matthew Modine plays a high school wrestler trying to find himself. It’s a classic sports underdog movie with corny scenes like this. So yeah, Foxcatcher was probably the greatest wrestling movie of all time five minutes in. Here’s the trailer: