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The Program (2015)

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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.

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

John Hodge (screenplay), David Walsh (book)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Foster ... Lance Armstrong
Chris O'Dowd ... David Walsh
Guillaume Canet ... Dr. Ferrari
Jesse Plemons ... Floyd Landis
Lee Pace ... Bill Stapleton
Denis Ménochet ... Johan Bruyneel
Edward Hogg ... Frankie Andreu
Dustin Hoffman ... Bob Hamman
Elaine Cassidy ... Betsy Andreu
Laura Donnelly ... Emma O'Reilly
Peter Wight ... Sunday Times Editor
Nathan Wiley ... Charles Pelkey
Chris Larkin ... John Wilcockson
Mark Little ... Rupert Guinness
Michael G. Wilson ... Lance's Doctor
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of the greatest deception of our time See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 March 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic See more »

Filming Locations:

Austin, Texas, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an interview with The Guardian, Ben Foster admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs under medical supervision to prepare for the role. See more »

Goofs

When Lance's is shown on his last Tour wins, he is seen using the same Trek 5200 model bike from the prior years. However, the correct bike should have been a Trek Madone, which has a different seat tube which widens below the seat almost touching the rear wheel. See more »

Quotes

David Walsh: I used to believe in this sport and Armstrong is killing it!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.39 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Mrs. Robinson
Written by Paul Simon
Performed by The Lemonheads
Courtesy of Warner Music UK Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A solid sports drama flick.............but it's better to watch the documentaries
24 February 2016 | by gricey_sandgrounderSee all my reviews

We pretty much know the story of the biggest con in sports history.

A 7-time Tour De France winner after recovering from quite severe level of testicular cancer, to be then stripped of everything he had ever achieved in the sport of cycling due to the use of performance- enhancing drugs.

With all that being said, what could this movie do to give us something different to be excited about?

We have director Stephen Frears (Philomena, Dirty Pretty Things, The Queen) exploring the biggest rise and fall probably by anyone in the history of the world.

I'm afraid that despite the solid pace to it, good performances and pleasing visuals, this only really skimmed the surface of the entire story.

Ben Foster plays Armstrong and it is quite un-nerving how much his likeness is uncanny to the man himself. He was a strong lead and definitely made this film watchable and interesting. Chris O'Dowd as hounding sports journalist David Walsh was solid. But I felt he was massively under-used. I think the makers of the film could have better by going down the route 'Rush' did by having two big characters facing-off throughout the feature. All the performances were fine and noticeable in terms of down- grading the film. The only stand-out worth mentioning was Jesse Plemon's portrayal of Armstrong's main team- mate Floyd Landis. He had moments that got me engaged and made it interesting viewing. One casting choice that I was confused about, was the addition of Dustin Hoffman as we see very little of him. Someone that big in the film industry should not be part of a film if he is going to be in there for very short amounts.

The race scenes look well made. Cinematography is a big high point in the film, especially in the opening scene. And finally, the soundtrack fits in the well with the story despite not being quite a captivating one for re-listening.

However, I cannot ignore the safe route this film went. It always went over the important issues quite casually and quickly went on the next one. It seems Frears wanted to throw too much into film and forgot to focus on keeping one angle to the story. I really felt we should have seen more of the journalist pursuing the star type of film which would have made it a great and enjoyable watch.

Connecting to the film was hard as well. It reminded me of The Wolf Of Wall Street as we are trying to connect with a guy we know has bone really bad things. But unlike the Martin Scorsese flick, the style of film-making is nothing remarkable, just passable.

It is still a well-acted drama flick. For those people that don't know a lot about the story, they will get the most enjoyment out of it. But if you want to a good film about Lance Armstrong and how he became the man he is today, watch the two film documentaries 'The Armstrong Lie' and 'Stop At Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story'. They both go into much more detail on how big of an idiot Armstrong is.


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