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97 Ratings

The Program

Directed by Stephen Frears
United Kingdom, France, 2015
Biography, Drama, Sport


An Irish sports journalist becomes convinced that Lance Armstrong’s performances during the Tour de France victories are fueled by banned substances. With this conviction, he starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong.

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The Program Directed by Stephen Frears
[Foster gives] a bold, remote, practically inhuman performance, which gets hilariously underlined at one point when Armstrong mentions that the supremely likable Matt Damon is in talks to play him (in another movie that never got made). There is nothing remotely likable, or even relatable, about Lance Armstrong in The Program. He’s just an ass-covering asshole, which is the sole interesting aspect of an otherwise pedestrian Wiki-history.
March 17, 2016
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The Program is a failure of dramatic imagination. Frears and Hodge allow their contempt for Armstrong to cloud their understanding of him—an issue that’s intensified by Foster’s unsurprising decision to fetishize the cyclist as a passive-aggressive monster (and exacerbated by the supporting cast, which collectively reduces a variety of characters to suit the assorted typecasting of the respective actors playing them).
March 16, 2016
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The logistics of maintaining such an elaborate lie for so long makes for a fascinating procedural, but they’re too often lapped by extensive reenactments of contests — whether on the Tour or in a courtroom — whose outcomes we already know.
March 15, 2016
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