Posts Tagged ‘Chris Larkin’

Tour de Lance

The Program

program_ver2

Director: Stephen Frears

Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Jesse Plemons, Dustin Hoffman, Guillaume Canet, Lee Pace, Bryan Greenberg, Denis Menochet

Acclaimed British directed Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, Philomena) tackles another real life media drama similarly to his Oscar winning film The Queen, in the sports expose of infamous cyclist Lance Armstrong in his new film The Program.

Based upon the novel The Seven Deadly Sins by the sports journalist David Walsh who tracked the rise and fall of Lance Armstrong from the early 1990’s to his public humiliation and eventual stripping of all seven Tour de France medals for admitting to running the most elaborate and sophisticated blood doping system in international cycling. The Program opens with a combative shot of David Walsh and Lance Armstrong playing table hockey in a French resort near the Tour de France route.

American actor Ben Foster (Kill Your Darlings) is terrific as Lance Armstrong, an ambitious cyclist who after battling and overcoming a devastating cancer diagnosis begins a record breaking winning streak by becoming the Tour de France champions seven times.

program_ver6

Chris O’Dowd plays the sports journalist David Walsh who initially suspects that Armstrong’s winning streak is tainted by performance enhancing drugs and soon it is Armstrong’s own arrogance which confirms Walsh’s suspicions.

program_ver4

Jesse Plemons (Bridge of Spies, Black Mass) plays the Amish cyclist Floyd Landis who initially joins Armstrong’s US Postal service team and then soon as the years progress gets caught for testing positive for using performance enhancing drugs such as testosterone as well as other barely detectable drugs such as  erythropoietin (EPO) which boost the body’s capacity for oxygen soon after being declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France.

With the usual efficiency of editing and swift directing by Frears, The Program is an absorbing sports drama in a similar vein to Ron Howard’s Rush. What makes The Program so compelling is the immediacy of the story as the whole Lance Armstrong scandal is still fresh in the current news media, right up to the sensational interview that he gave on the Oprah Winfrey show in January 2013.

Lance Armstrong Interview with Oprah Winfrey

What is even more compelling to watch is Foster’s brilliant portrayal of Armstrong, a man whose initial devastating battle with testicular cancer turned his will to survive into an elaborate and arrogant drive to win at all costs and become an international sports icon and the brand of Lance Armstrong.

Doping scandals in sports are not new media fare but seem to be increasing reoccurring narratives in the media frenzied world of sports, where competitiveness and winning becomes the only method of establishing a celebrity status in the 21st century, which Frears skilfully emphasizes in The Program.

Whilst Frears’ earlier film The Queen about the British monarch’s response to the tragic death of Princess Diana back in 1997 is a far superior film, The Program is worth watching for Foster really inhabits the role of Armstrong, changing his physique and almost chillingly adopting his champion arrogance, which is often reflected in scenes where Armstrong is threatening other cyclists on the highly grueling and competitive Tour de France circuit.

program_ver5

Audiences should look out for Lee Pace as Armstrong’s sleazy brand manager, Bill Stapleton and a brief cameo by Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman (Marathon Man, Rain Man) as the team US Postal Service’s underwriter, Bob Hamman, who was initially responsible for paying out large sums of cash to Armstrong for his successive Tour de France wins. French actor Guillaume Canet plays the shady Italian doctor Michele Ferrari.

The Program is a superb portrait of international sports competitiveness, deception and how the media are implicit in making these cyclists into celebrities then breaking them down when scandal erupts.

Source:Lance Armstrong

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
August 2021
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Sets Sci-Fi Anime Series at Crunchyroll
    Crunchyroll is developing “Dark Star Squadron,” a space-opera anime series, in partnership with Zoe Saldana’s Cinestar Pictures production shingle. Crunchyroll also announced that it now has more than 5 million paying subscribers and more than 120 million registered users worldwide. AT&T’s $1.2 billion deal to sell Crunchyroll to Sony Pictures — which owns Crunchyroll competitor […]
    Todd Spangler
  • Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympian Brian Boitano Team for Netflix Ice Skating Movie
    Charles Randolph-Wright, Debra Martin Chase and Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano have teamed to produce the Netflix family movie “Take the Ice,” set in the world of synchronized ice skating. Written by Deborah Swisher, “Take the Ice” follows a rebellious 15-year-old named Tisha Moore, who has dreamed of becoming an ice skater her entire life. […]
    Angelique Jackson
  • YouTube Shorts Creators Can Now Start Earning up to $10,000 per Month With Viral Videos
    Starting this month, YouTubers in select countries can vie for a piece of the $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund — if their creations rise to the top of the heap of the most-viral clips. Every month, YouTube says, it will select thousands of eligible creators to claim a payment from the fund, which marks the […]
    Todd Spangler
  • ‘Skate Dreams’ Will Spotlight U.S. Olympic Skateboarding Coach Mimi Knoop
    Jessica Edwards is directing and producing “Skate Dreams,” an upcoming documentary about female skateboarders, as the first Olympic competition for them is underway in Tokyo. Produced by Film First, the Brooklyn-based shingle Edwards founded in 2010, the documentary will chronicle the rise of female skateboarding from its origins to its international debut as an Olympic […]
    Ethan Shanfeld
  • Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga Reveal ‘Love for Sale,’ Cole Porter Tribute Album Said to Be Bennett’s Last
    As Tony Bennett celebrates his 95th birthday, and he and Lady Gaga prepare for a two-night stand at Radio City Music Hall beginning tonight, reps for the singer and Lady Gaga have revealed the title, concept and track list for their second collaborative album, “Love for Sale,” a Cole Porter tribute. The Oct. 1 release […]
    Chris Willman
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90