Home Movie Review: The Program

Review: The Program


A slightly biased but brilliant version of the Lance Armstrong story

The Program tells the story of the sporting disaster that was Lance Armstrong’s demise from seven-time Tour De France winner to disgraced athlete. Lance is played as an arrogant, egotistical man by the relatively unknown Ben Foster, and this movie is sure to make him a star. Foster even reportedly took performance-enhancing drugs while shooting the film to get into character.

the program2

Also starring Chris O’Dowd as the journalist David Walsh who long suspected that Lance was doping, this movie is based on his book Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong and it paints quite a nasty picture of the cyclist.

From a mediocre athlete when he first began racing in the Tour, Lance wants to be better and so approaches the ‘doping doctor’ Michele Ferrari who puts him on a program including dieting and taking Epo, a performance enhancing drug. Soon Lance is winning races and has his team also doping, with an extreme system to evade drug tests (including blood doping). However, as Walsh continues to investigate despite threats from Lance, a number of people come out of the woodwork to confess the truth, including his Irish physiotherapist.

The Program is compelling viewing, even for someone who doesn’t have any interest in competitive sports. The actors’ performances are engaging and the footage of the races is so exciting that you find yourself rooting for ‘bad’ guy at times! A fascinating picture of an athlete gone too far, even if it is a little biased.

4 stars

InTallaght Magazine will have a feature interview with David Walsh in our next issue, out October 23rd, so be sure to pick up a copy!

Out now in cinemas nationwide!