The Program is an Odyssey of Lance Armstrong’s career, from his very first Tour de France to his downfall. The story follows an Irish sport journalist, David Walsh, that becomes convinced that Armstrong’s performances are fueled by banned substances. Walsh then starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong.
Stephen Frears’ film made cycling exciting, the sport was interesting all the way through. I grew up hearing about the Tour de France but I never got into it. The movie showed me a competitive aspect of it, I knew was there but never really understood. It’s in Armstrong’s resolve to do anything to win in the first act of the film that I saw Cycling as I see Rugby or Volley-Ball – I know, -_- I have weird tastes in sports.
The blend of archive footage and storytelling was seamless, sometimes ironic but seamless. Frears took a point of view, mainly David Walsh’s, and stuck with it. Which is why at times the movie feels very factual and documentary-like – makes sense Walsh is a Journalist. I like or don’t mind the fact that they didn’t stray too far from the sport. There’s little mentions of his family life, or life outside of the sport, and the movie doesn’t go in depth into Armstrong’s foundation Livestrong. Although these things are in the film, they serve as contextual elements in the man’s career.
If you’ve followed the Lance Armstrong’s story I doubt that you’ll learned much with the program but I’m sure that you’ll be blown away by Ben Foster’s performance. Foster melted into the role, he portrayed Armstrong through the years brilliantly. In seconds you no longer see him, only Armstrong. I didn’t recognize Guillaume Canet, which is good, but god his accent was awful and a bit distracting.
The program introduced of the facets of the man, the racer, the charitable man, and the cheat that Lance Armstrong is. The film looks like a well-rounded, accurate portrayal of a man with his qualities and his flaws.
What’s your take on it?