FILM REVIEW - THE PROGRAM
Directed by Stephen Frears.
Starring Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet.
A passable TV movie
This dramatisation of David Walsh’s exposé of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal is heavy on Armstrong (Ben Foster) and surprisingly light on Walsh’s (Chris O’Dowd) side of the story. Given the amount of documentaries already dealing with this subject, it seems like a missed opportunity. If there is any distance left in this story then focussing yet again on Armstrong isn’t the answer.
Stephen Frears’ movie might have worked better if it dealt with Walshe’s experience, or examined how Armstrong’s competitors felt about being consistently beaten by a cheat. As it stands, The Program is a run-of-the-mill biopic full of trite, “C’mon Johnny, I’m Jonesing real bad and I know you got the stuff” style dialogue and leaving the impression that Armstrong and his team were ploughing up the Alps high-fiving each other with syringes sticking out of their arses. The Program is a passable TV movie, but it’s hardly worth a trip to the cinema.