THE PROGRAM GALA D: Stephen Frears. UK. 103 min..
GALA D: Stephen Frears. UK. 103 min. Sep 13, 3:30 pm Roy Thomson Hall Sep 14, 5 pm Scotiabank 12 Sep 19, 4:30 pm Winter Garden. See listings. Rating: NN Win tickets to see The Program at Carlton Cinema here!
A breathless fictionalization of Lance Armstrong’s meteoric rise through the ranks of competitive cycling and his equally spectacular fall, The Program compresses two decades of events into a speedy, oversimplified narrative in which Armstrong (dead ringer Ben Foster) cheats, lies and intimidates his way to global celebrity while Sunday Times journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd) slowly, exhaustively chases the real reason behind Armstrong’s success.
Working partially from Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins, Frears and screenwriter John Hodge seem more interested in delivering big dramatic moments than exploring or understanding its subject. Other than one great scene in a children’s cancer ward – which shows us what Foster can do with Armstrong’s slippery charm and ambiguous motivations – there’s nothing in The Program that we don’t already know.