The Program (II) (2015)
solid acting and functional
1 May 2016
It's 1993 and Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) is in his first Tour in France. Irish sports journalist David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd) is both following and rooting for the competitive new American wonderboy. After initial losses, he and his teammates start using enhancements. The team starts winning but then he's diagnosed with cancer. After his tiring treatments, he gets help from Dr. Michele Ferrari who is experimenting outside the ethical lines. Bill Stapleton (Lee Pace) organizes the deal with US Postal. Walsh starts to suspect that something is amiss. God-fearing Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons) is hired to help Armstrong and he takes over after Lance. Betsy Andreu recounts a moment with Armstrong and her husband. Armstrong decides to defend against his detractors by attacking them.

Despite the great actors and solid work, this still has a biopic feel in the structure of the movie. It follows the story faithfully. The truthfulness seems to be there. Ben Foster does nice work inhabiting the role although I'm not sure if it dives into his mind enough. It would be helpful to add something from before his Tour and doping life. Walsh's crusade is more compelling. The second half of the movie is more compelling. It is generally missing the drama and the thrills. I'm also not certain if this gets any special insight into Armstrong's character. It's a functional biopic but the material is ready for much more.
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