Benjamin Maio Mackay
The Program - 4 Stars
Stunning performances lead to a memorable biopic of disgraced athlete Lance Armstrong.
There are certain elements of this film that really impress me – firstly the actors. Ben Foster and Chris O’Dowd are both sublime and offer Oscar worthy performances. The supporting cast of Jesse Plemons and Dustin Hoffman are equally as strong. The next feature that impresses me is the seamless insertion of actor Ben Foster into actual footage of Lance Armstrong’s races and interviews. This is so often tacky looking in biopics, but the use of CGI and green screen in this film make it almost impossible to tell what is actual footage where Armstrong is replaced and what was re-shot. Other impressive elements were the incredible direction and the outstanding score.
What really annoyed me was the fact that the movie brushed over so many details of Lance’s life. Everything that was in this movie was pivotal – there was absolutely nothing that could be cut. However, for the first and quite possibly last time I’ll say this – I think this movie should’ve been longer. It ran at 103 minutes I would’ve easily watched this for another 1/2 hour, just so the film could’ve delved more deeply into aspects of his life (especially his personal life). What amazes me most is there is a scene where Lance gets married and it is briefly shown that he has children. We NEVER see his wife or children again – there are no signs of them around his house and there is no reference of what happened to them. This just seems so unrealistic that it became annoying. The movie covered such a long period of time – which was necessary in telling this story, but as a result also neglected so much that would’ve enhanced the story.
Overall it was very good, but it could’ve delved deeper.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Picture This