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Real-life smackdown

Midwinter gloom suffuses “Foxcatcher” (R, Sony), the dramatized version of the murder of champion wrestler Dave Schultz at the hands of the John du Pont in 1996. As refracted through the chilly, superbly controlled lens of director Bennett Miller, the otherwise tawdry tale of ambition, self-deception and mental illness becomes an unsettling allegory of violence and love at their most ritualized and repressed. Steve Carell’s haunting Oscar-nominated performance as Du Pont represents a breakthrough for someone associated with comedy and winsome drama. But what makes the film so spellbinding is its ensemble, including Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum.

Washington Post