Here is a film that does not glorify the wrong deeds of a famous celebrity, nor does it let you sympathize with him! Instead, how the world gets to know about his ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ becomes the crux of the movie and keeps you hooked till the very end.
Star Cast: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Jesse Plemons, Guillaume Canet, Dustin Hoffman, Denis Menochet and Lee Pace
Director: Stephen Frears
Producer: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Tracey Seaward and Kate Solomon
Based On: David Walsh’s book ‘Seven Deadly Sins’
Claps For: Direction, Screenplay by John Hodge, Background Music and Performances
Slaps For: Editing
Popcorn Refill: Strictly Interval
What’s New: Presenting a famous celebrity as the anti-hero.
Story: Cyclist Lance Armstrong fights and gets over testicular cancer, only to come back as the 7 times winner of Tour De France. While he is at the peak of his career and has become an inspiration and role model for many, journalist David Wash gets a hint of what has made Armstrong the legend that he is- EPO and other banned substances that he uses to win the race; and sets out to investigate and expose the “most sophisticated drug program in the world.”
Performances: The movie, undoubtedly, belongs to Ben Foster. He does not play the ‘Legend, Hero and Inspiring’ Lance Armstrong but the ‘Cheat, the Egoistic’ Lance Armstrong and he give out that impression right from the very first scene. While he continues with his no-nonsense and “I am the f**king best and can betray anyone” expressions throughout the movie, he nails it during the final few minutes as the man who starts getting insecure about the newbies in the business overtaking him along with the fear of his dark secrets coming out any point of time. The scenes where he makes the confession about the banned substances that he had been taking over the years, along with the way he reacts when he gets banned from cycling and training are priceless!
Chris O’Dowd is wonderfully convincing as David Walsh, the journalist wants to expose the illegal drug program run by Lance Armstrong.
Another performer who deserves special mentions is Jesse Plemons as the kid who gets involved in Armstrong’s program only to emerge as the man filled with anger and a smile that hides deep regrets.
Direction: Stepher Frears delivers a fast-paced and gripping biographical drama. While the movie takes its own time to develop in the beginning, nowhere does it come across as a boring or a dragged one. Filled with the right amount of drama and zero romance and any other elements, ‘The Program’ makes sure it does not glorify Lance Armstrong or present him as the ‘legend’ during the first half and then as the cheat during the second. Rather, it shows him as the man who has been cheating the world, using people and their trust for his own advantage. And not just that, the sportsman even uses his foundation to support cancer patients to come clean from all the accusations on him, despite showing him caring about the cancer patients in a previous scene leaving the audience to wonder which side of him is true.
You would rather sit on your seat and root for David Walsh as he fights hard to find evidenced and expose Armstrong and his deeds.
End of it all, it is the treatment of the movie that makes it stand apart from being just another story of how Lance Armstrong was made to confess!
Combo-On-Offer: Gripping Drama
Verdict: We give the movie CLAPS for its fast-paced and gripping screenplay along with earnest performances!