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  • jules

    these films are always bound to disappoint enthusiasts, as they inevitably stylise facts for a broader (less knowledgeable) audience.

    incidentally, I’m sure I’ve read an account of journalists responding with some emotion at Lance’s 1999 Tour victory. I can’t remember where.

    • I think the only way enthusiasts will be satisfied with these types of films is by watching a documentary (such as The Armstrong Lie). As we saw last night, it’s an impossible challenge to recreate the characters that we’re so familiar with. I’d be far happier with a “it was so bad that it was funny” type of film that what they came up with in The Program.

      • jules

        I wonder if they considered starting the film back at when he was a young teenager, prodigious endurance talent (triathlon) and already with a huge chip on his shoulder – presumably associated with his dad abandoning him. That would have been more interesting to me (I imagine, not having seen it).

        • Agreed. It could have been a 13 episode series that dove into those details. A better script couldn’t have been written.

          • Kieran Degan

            I would have loved a mini series in the form of Narcos. It gives them time to see character development and to accommodate the complex story.

  • CGradeCyclist

    Saw this film at the Brisbane review last night, and pretty much agree with Matt’s review. It worked well as a quick ‘exevutive summary’ of the Lance saga for those who are relatively unfamiliar with it all (a couple of my non-cycling friends who were with me really enjoyed it, and they were shocked by many scenes which were ‘old hat’ to me) – but for someone who ‘lived & breathed’ cycling for many years and has closely followed the rise & fall of Lance Inc, then it was kind-of unsatisfying in the lack of detail…
    Best parts for me was the spliced in historical footage, and trying to spot-the-errors in the equipment, uniforms, etc they used 9I thought they actually did an excellent job of that!). Did laugh at the ’20 stages of the Tour’ comment though… :-)
    Don’t go if you are looking for an insightful re-examination of the Lance story, but it’s a nice cycling-related timewaster for a rainy day…
    3.5/5 stars if you know little/nothing about cycling
    2.5/5 stars if you’re a cycling fan

    • Dave

      The bit about 20 stages is technically correct, for all but two of the Armstrong years it was 20 stages plus a prologue.

  • tedder42

    I’ve been waiting for this to hit the US for a few months :/

  • ceedee

    I remember ‘It’s not about the bike’ was option and Matt Damon and then Jake Gyllenhaal was connect to film. I wonder even back in the early 2000s doping rumours were so strong that they kill that film.

    • They even spoke about that in a scene on the team bus with blood bags in their arms.

  • Push Bike Writer

    Good review Matt. Here’s mine:

  • Scott Rainsford

    I just finished recent Garmin Cannondale signing Phil Gaimon’s book “Pro Cycling on $10 a day”. This is the sort of work we should be talking about and reading. Smart, quick witted and credible – even wrote it all by himself… If you want to protest against the criminals of sport, look to those who are trying to keep the magic and respect their supporters.

    • Andy B

      *gayman

    • rob

      I have that book too. Stoked that Phil the Thrill is riding for Cannondale next year. Good luck to him.

  • zosim

    “Sadly, the portrayal is a largely unflattering one and several scenes, such as David Walsh being left behind by a car of fellow journalists (including Guinness) after being blacklisted by Armstrong, are oversimplified to make for more dramatic viewing”

    Unfortunately, journalists have had a pretty easy ride in the Armstrong doping fiasco. They assisted in blackballing their colleagues and their only excuse appears to be “Oh, well we needed to do this otherwise our job would have been harder”. I had an email exchange with a journo in the US who wrote a scathing article about Armstrong post-confession who not only said in the article that he’d had suspicions about Armstrong but then failed to explain why he wrote about him in such glowing terms or got involved in blackballing Walsh. Guiness, Sherwen and Liggett and their ilk really need to pack up and go home as much as people as Vino do. Their presence doesn’t enhance the sport.

    Oh, and on a pure stylistic PoV, the paragraph about O’Dowd’s portrayal of Walsh is pretty confusing as you refer to both him and the director as Walsh constantly.

    • Sean

      I wonder what Rupe Guinness has to say about this? Until now, I haven’t considered him to belong with those other flogs, seems he’s now better. Bit disappointing to say the least.

  • Stian Pollestad

    I enjoyed the bike scenes, and looking at the equipment used in that period.

  • Robert

    Matt, is there anything you can’t do! Great review. Run a Gran Fondo one day, film review the next. Maybe tackle world peace next:)

  • Flemish toilet bowl

    Ben Foster famously took EPO to ‘know’ the part

    Clenbuterol would have helped him ‘look’ the part. Way too fat for a pro cyclist- most club A and plenty of B graders look fitter

    • Sean

      Agreed he is as fat as a good B grade club rider. His arms are thicker than my legs, what a joke, lean up ya fraud.

  • Flemish toilet bowl

    Muscles

  • ummm…

    Strangely, the movie is unavailable in the US. It was a US team (government funded!) with US dopers, and we can’t see it. Must be so bad that they can’t find a distributor. Is it available anywhere online?

    • Dave

      “Strangely, the movie is unavailable in the US.”
      Imagine the lawsuits if it was!

      “It was a US team (government funded!) with US dopers, and we can’t see it.”
      It’s not an official documentary, it’s a privately funded film for entertainment.

      “Is it available anywhere online?”

      Not legally!

      • ummm…

        Who would be filing suit? They have played it at festivals here (US) I believe. Yeah I know it is a private film, but imagine having a movie about Gina Rinehart and her family drama and not having it released in Australia. I’m only assuming that you are from Australia. And, if you know where these illegal streams/torrents/files are, then please let me know and I may alert the proper authorities. I’ll have to certify its authenticity first of course.

        • Dave

          “but imagine having a movie about Gina Rinehart and her family drama and not having it released in Australia.”
          Her lawyers tried to get an injunction banning the mini-series from going to air but failed.

          That’s the Australian legal system though, the US legal system is more heavily weighted towards plaintiffs.

          • ummm…

            O I dunno. I believe that they can’t find a distrbutor to take a chance of a rubbish film. At least thats what I have heard.

    • Dave

      “Strangely, the movie is unavailable in the US.”
      Imagine the lawsuits if it was!

      “It was a US team (government funded!) with US dopers, and we can’t see it.”
      It’s not an official documentary, it’s a privately funded film for entertainment.

      “Is it available anywhere online?”

      Not legally!

    • Sean

      move to a proper country like russia, china, france, canada or australia.

  • Albert

    As an aside, I was watching Dodge Ball the other night, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the hilarious cameo by Mr Armstrong.

    • Pete

      I’m telling you, only Lance could play Lance – he’d be perfect in an acting role.

  • Nick

    “the Walsh portrayed in this film — sceptical of Armstrong’s post-illness transformation and driven to expose the truth — arguably bears little resemblance to the Walsh of today whom, some suggest, hasn’t approached more recent questionable performances with the same fervour”
    Maybe it’s the same Walsh, but the 2 different scenarios are different, so he treats them differently?

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