The Program (Movie Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- The Program charts athlete Lance Armstrong’s meteoric - and dope enhanced - rise to fame, as he made history with seven Tour de France victories and his subsequent complete and utter fall from grace thanks to his own foolishness and the persistent investigative efforts of a journalist.

If there’s one thing that this film proves really well, it is that apart from being able to ride a bike really well, Armstrong (Foster, quite on point) also managed to perfect the dubious art of being a liar and a scam artist.

Frears shows us that the seeds of his downfall were sown before he even achieved global fame. David Walsh (O’Dowd), a journalist at The Sunday Times and a lover of the sport himself, is gobsmacked when he sees a complete turnaround in Armstrong’s performance after recovering from cancer. He tells his mates that in the past, uphill stretches were Armstrong’s Achilles’ heel. Now though, he does it better than the best. Other athletes with similar aerobic capacities are left in the dust. It’s almost as if, as Walsh says, he has become superman.

Lance’s trainer, ‘The Godfather of Doping’ Michele Ferrari (Canet) borrows more from chemistry rather than any noble athletic ideals. At Lance’s urging, he introduces him to Erythropoietin, which increases red blood cell production. It’s actually Armstrong’s teammate Floyd Landis (Plemons) whose testimony leads to the former’s doping scam being unraveled. The film makes no bones about depicting Armstrong as being a pretty evil and manipulative guy, a fraud ready to go to any lengths.

The shots during various Tour de France races feature some fancy camerawork and the eclectic soundtrack also adds zing. While Foster and the principal cast have done their due, it’s hard to shake off the feeling that the film feels a bit inconsistent or too rushed, like a retelling in quick time of an elaborate scam that could have been examined in more detail. Perhaps a more psychological angle would have enhanced the proceedings.

Nonetheless, The Program can be viewed as especially relevant, given that doping in sport is coincidentally, in the news again. Courtesy toi…

The Program

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