Synopsis: Based on true events, multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carrell) sets up a training camp for wrestlers looking to compete in the Seoul Olympics. Among those training are the Schultz brothers Mark (Channing Tatum) and David (Mark Ruffalo) who are already Olympic champions.
Stan's thoughts: The synopsis and trailer don't really give you a proper insight into what this film is about. It's a psychological thriller that makes for an uncomfortable two and bit hours in the cinema - but that certainlyisn't a criticism.
Carrell's performance is quite incredible and key to why this film works. John du Pont is a complex character whose motives and intentions are never fully clear. He has a difficult relationship with his mother (a brilliant Vanessa Redgrave), has had a very privileged but potentially lonely upbringing, comes across as interested and passionate about his hobbies but likes to get his own way.
He makes those around him just a little uncomfortable. The way he holds his head slightly back looking over the bridge of his nose and meets peoples gaze for just a bit too long after the conversation has finished is part of it.
Then there are the track suit bottoms. There is something just a little bit odd and creepy about someone who wears tracksuit bottoms most of the time or maybe that is just me.
This is a film about the relationship between three people who happen to share a passion for wrestling. It's not a sport I know anything about or have any real interest and while it is peripheral to the story, I walked away with a better appreciation for the skill involved.
A lot of people are talking about Channing Tatum's performance in this and it is certainly his best by a long shot even if his 80s haircut is a little bit scary.
I know some have found this a little too uncomfortable to watch and some might find it a little plodding but for me it's careful and considered pace is what helps give it its taut atmosphere.
This is a film of great quality, a film of great subtlety that makes you want to go and spend time watching something fluffy and colourful afterwards. Steve Carrell's John du Pont still haunts me a week on.
- Stan’s 83%
- IMDB 74%
- Metascore 81%
- Rotten Tomatoes 87%
- RT Audience Rating* 74%
* Number of people rating 3.5/5 or higher