Posted Oct 28 2015

The Program - This Movie Rocks The Tour

Dir: Stephen Frears

Starring Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Lee Pace, Jesse Plemons, Dustin Hoffman

Stephen Frears wisely plays his Lance Armstrong movie as some kind of cycling thriller. We all know what happened, we simply want to see it told in a compelling manner. And The Program certainly achieves that. Frears knows we know, so keeps everything moving along at a brisk and concise pace, almost matching the speed of his protagonist in his delivery of the story.

Ben Foster proves a dab hand at managing to humanise the almost super human cyclist, capturing both the man’s charm, an essential part of his years-long cover up, and the distinct megalomania that came with the eventual uncovering of his doping deeds – as captured so strikingly in Alex Gibney’s recent The Armstrong Lie, a fascinating companion piece to this. He is well met by O’Dowd, as David Walsh, the Sunday Times sports journo who spent years pursuing the lying athlete. Kudos also for Plemons as the younger cyclist torn by the corruption he saw around him.

There are no revelations in The Program, real life and reportage has taken care of that; but Frears tells the story in an involving and fairly thorough way, that still remains entertaining and engrossing, despite out foreknowledge of events.


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