The object of the film, at least as far as the story is presented, is paranoia. This is an adaptation of a true story based on the autobiography of wrestler Mark Shultz.
Olympic wrestling champions Dave and Mark Shultz, brothers, train in a modest suburban gym, and lead a normal life. Billionaire John Du Pont, with a passion for wrestling, contacts Mark, the youngest, and offers him to move to the Foxcatcher estate to train under his guidance, together with a team and with all the material support he needs. . Du Pont’s real goal is to be considered the architect of Mark’s success, even if apparently he poses himself as the one who will allow him to finally find his own individual dimension, and no longer as the younger brother of the other fighter, in reality he wants to absorb the personality of the other and use it as a tool to build his own public persona (Du Pont the coach, Du Pont “the golden eagle of America). Du Pont boasts a series of minor titles (philatelic, ornithologist, etc.) which are actually ridiculous considering his position of economic and political power, and probably obtains honoris causa as a sponsor of various associations. The same happens in the fight, where he takes pleasure in winning a combined match for senior wrestlers and is keen to put the prize on the bulletin board.
Its absence of identity is a constant that is highlighted in the course of history, and is increasingly disturbing. Du Pont is an individual without his own initiative, he relies on abstract values ​​of power and success, and does not see himself as the protagonist of anything, but as the object of praise, recognition, awards. As a fighter and incapable, he lacks exactly what he would like to instill in athletes, but instead of training himself he prefers to carve out the role of coach of others, of genius from which the victory of others derives for a sort of charisma, rather than for technical competence. He is a “non-technical”, authoritative all-rounder without substance.
When Mark proves not to correspond to what he claimed, DuPont dismisses him to instead call his elder brother Dave, more independent and unwilling to unofficially be under the guidance of “coach DuPont” to lead his team. Dave tries to recover his brother, removing him from the influence he considers negative of DuPont, as well as using his criteria to coach the team, reluctantly lending himself to portraying the billionaire as a real manager. Regretting Mark’s pious personality, DuPont kills Dave in cold blood on the general charge of “having something against him” and will be jailed.
The film supports the thesis that John suffers from an inferiority complex instilled in him by his mother, who as a child paid the driver’s son to be his friend, and when he grows up he reproaches him for not being anyone, and living in a world of fiction. , in which it pays to be able to appear. He, shadow, who pretends to stand out on the light of others. Emblematic is the scene in which he invites his mother to attend his (useless) wrestling training sessions in which on the eve of the Olympics he pretends to intervene with some tips: he shows the moves to the athlete, in an exhibition for the use and consumption of his mother, and she walks away with a mixture of indifference and contempt.
The other key is paranoia. DuPont also has a passion for safety, and for this reason he even gets a tank sent by the army, in addition to doing shooting exercises with his vigilantes. Often it seems that he reads the actions of others with perplexity, as if he were trying to understand if there is something strange “behind”. His reactions are typically paranoid, that is, ambiguous. When he feels derided, belittled, or imagines being threatened in some vague and unspecified way, he seeks contact with the other person, and tries on the one hand to investigate, on the other to feign further friendship, as if to see how the other person is. other will react and get an idea if he is trying to do something against him or not.
While he is shooting with the pistol, the running athletes pass him by and greet him loudly. Not knowing if it was a tease or a greeting, he joins them in the gym, gun in hand, gives some instructions and then fires a shot in the air, smiling, and urging them to give it all in view of the race.
On another occasion, suspecting that the real coach of the group (Dave) wants to exclude him, he shows up at training and expresses all his trust in him, with the cold and ambiguous feeling of whoever seems to be trying to test the trust of the other. .
In paranoia there is a problem in distinguishing the will of others from one’s own. The person feels “piloted”, as if his own body, including the brain, depends on what others decide. He needs to condition them, to have them under control, and therefore central. Given this fusion, when others perform actions that do not coincide with what the person wants, likes, has indicated, the paranoid feels conditioned, violated, forced.
In the experience of many paranoid subjects, for example, there is the idea that their life has been materially determined by others, that others have determined the functioning of their brains. If others do not approve or do not support what one wants to do, the paranoid believes that he cannot do it, because he is prevented. The thought of others becomes their own will, as if others had a joystick in their hand with which they can prevent or favor the person’s movements.
In this relationship of alternating symbiosis and opposition with others, the paranoid sees the other as a devoted ally or insidious usurper, but has difficulty in conceiving him as an independent element, which acts, thinks and feels in a way not connected to him. In the first case he will be able to assume attitudes of generosity and total trust, perhaps contrasting what he considers an ally to others whom he considers hostile or critical, as if he were opposing himself to the world that does not appreciate or support him. In the second he may feel betrayed and provoked, duped and stabbed, and by the same principle he will see the other as an ally of the world that is against him. Precisely because these two interpretations are linked to the same nucleus (not seeing the other as separate from oneself), it is easy to abruptly switch from one attitude to another.
For the paranoid the world revolves around him, and therefore there is no variety of possible attitudes (either with me, or against me) but above all these attitudes are two sides on which the perception of reality hangs, and reality does not and variable piece by piece, but all together. When he finds himself betrayed, those who suffer from paranoia feel betrayed by a person in moral competition with all the other enemies, or a conspiracy with others, or in any case in an “aligned” way with all the authors of wrongs suffered in the course of life.
Furthermore, the paranoid does not tend to communicate “openly” with those he deems a traitor or a threat to himself, precisely because he is convinced that the other is perfectly aware. He can choose if ever to make it clear that he has understood, to allude to warn the other, or on the contrary to show himself as a friend, thus thinking that the other is under the illusion of not having been discovered in his betrayal of him. Often, as described above, he slips between these two attitudes. If anything, and this is characteristic, the paranoid does not alienate people he deems threatening, on the contrary he finds a way to have them by his side, perhaps he hires them or calls them as collaborators, so as to control them, condition them. He is convinced, precisely because of his paranoid background, that if others call him “boss” then they respect him,
DuPont, for example, claims to be called a coach, or to record interviews in which he is defined as a “mentor”, a leader, a guide, and with words that must be these. While others experience this as partly ridiculous and partly mortifying, he perceives it as a sincere act of identification, of recognition. Conversely, refusing to “literally” obey indications concerning him can be perceived as a betrayal, because those who refuse to call him “boss” are almost forcing him not to be, questioning his identity. It is not just a challenge or a diminution, it is a deeper annoyance, as if someone usurped or stole his identity to which he is entitled. When the other is recognized as “another person”, with his / her thoughts, affections and behaviors,
The closure with the world, of those who feel outraged, or that of those who feel besieged can be precursory behaviors of violent acts, or claims, as happens in the film. Unlike the “hot” paranoia, typical of bipolar disorder, in which agitation, verbal controversy and accentuated expressiveness portend risk, in “cold” paranoia the subject remains enigmatic, apparently awkward or detached.
The interpretation in this case renders the characters very well: dazed, absent, depersonalized, able to make one feel uncomfortable because of this unnaturalness of his. The difficulty in communicating is evident, so much so that the paranoid rich, being able to do it, instructs others to mediate his contacts with the world, and exposes himself in the first person speaking in a grandiose but plastered way of himself.
In the film there are also a couple of allusions to DuPont’s homosexual drives, and to cocaine and alcohol, but basically this is not the central theme or the decisive element. Certainly alcohol and cocaine sharpen the paranoia, and can trigger behaviors that otherwise often remain blocked, precisely due to the paranoid’s difficulty in finding the channel for expression. When he finds it, it is often a vengeance channel.

Previous articleThe US opens its borders with Mexico and Canada. And Europe?
Next articleHow to furnish your home on a budget