6.5/10
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46 user 173 critic

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.

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(screenplay), (book)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Lance Armstrong
... David Walsh
... Dr. Ferrari
... Floyd Landis
... Bill Stapleton
... Johan Bruyneel
... Frankie Andreu
... Bob Hamman
... Betsy Andreu
... Emma O'Reilly
... Sunday Times Editor
... Charles Pelkey
... John Wilcockson
... Rupert Guinness
... 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:

Lance Armstrong couldn't be beaten. Except by the truth. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

18 March 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Untitled Lance Armstrong Biopic  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen Frears told The Hollywood Reporter that he cast Guillaume Canet - a French actor who barely speaks English, to play Italian doctor Michele Ferrari because he couldn't find an Italian actor who speaks English. See more »

Goofs

In many of the scenes showing Armstrong riding in his early tour wins he is seen wearing Oakley Radar Sunglasses that were not yet released. See more »

Quotes

Lance Armstrong: I'm the most tested athlete on the face of the planet.
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Connections

Featured in Projector: Suffragette/The Program (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Mr. Pharmacist
Written by Jeff Nowlen
Performed by The Fall
Courtesy of Beggars Banquet Records Ltd
By arrangement with Beggars Group Media Ltd
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User Reviews

 
to be seen on Lifetime
23 November 2015 | by See all my reviews

Quickie Review:

Obsessed with winning the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) uses performance enhancing substances to gain the edge. Meanwhile, sports journalist David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd) convinced of the doping conspiracy starts to gather evidence to expose Armstrong. The Program, is an underwhelming retelling of the one of the biggest drug scandals in sports history. Admittedly the actor's performances are good, and the movie overall is shot well. However, the script and the story telling are to the quality of what you might expect from an average TV documentary re-enactment.

Full Review:

Considering the high profile nature of the scandal, I was surprised that The Program wasn't marketed more. I never saw the trailers in the cinemas and when I brought up that I was going to watch this movie in the weekend I was immediately asked by everyone "What's that?" After watching the film it's clear to me that even the studio lacked confidence in the final product.

Few as they may be, there are certainly some redeeming things about The Program. The lead actor Ben Foster gave a solid performance, at a certain point I didn't see him anymore and only saw Lance. Which probably is the biggest compliment I'll give to this movie. I also enjoyed seeing the whole doping operation, it was meticulous and systematic. I really got the sense of the lengths that Lance and his team went to achieve their goals. Although it is definitely disgraceful, I must admit I was rather impressed by how for so long they got away with it all. So I commend the filmmakers for pulling off that aspect of the story. As for the rest of the story, there's more to be desired.

You couldn't ask for better true story material for a sports drama. There was huge potential here, but all of it is lost because of the paint by the numbers approach to the film. Rather than concentrating on a singular character and see them transform over the course of the movie, The Program opts to also give significant spotlight to David Walsh and Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons). This causes the movie to lose focus with each change. The structure of movie made it blatantly obvious that the director and the editor prioritised showing a checklist of major events in Lance's life rather than telling a coherent story. An example of this false priorities was the introduction of Lance's wife. The whole segment of them meeting lasts for about 45 seconds, we get a quick look at a wedding, and that's it, we never see her again for the rest of the movie. That small segment was just there to show Lance got married at one point. It felt completely unnecessary, instead I would love to have seen how this whole operation affected his relationships and friendships.

The Program, is a movie that no-one knows about and unfortunately will be a forgettable experience for the ones who do watch it. I think if I had caught this as a re-enacted documentary on TV, I'd be really impressed. However when it comes to biographically movies in cinemas it just doesn't hold up to the standard set by recent movies such as The Social Network or Selma for example.


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