The Program


Action / Biography / Drama / Sport


Uploaded By: LINUS
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January 22, 2016 at 12:26 AM



Jesse Plemons as Floyd Landis
Lee Pace as Bill Stapleton
Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong
Dustin Hoffman as Bob Hamman
720p 1080p
752.69 MB
24 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 4 / 42
1.56 GB
24 fps
1hr 43 min
P/S 7 / 37

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Viswanath Dhanisetty 4 / 10

to be seen on Lifetime

Quickie Review:

Obsessed with winning the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) uses performance enhancing substances to gain the edge. Meanwhile, sports journalist David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd) convinced of the doping conspiracy starts to gather evidence to expose Armstrong. The Program, is an underwhelming retelling of the one of the biggest drug scandals in sports history. Admittedly the actor's performances are good, and the movie overall is shot well. However, the script and the story telling are to the quality of what you might expect from an average TV documentary re-enactment.

Full Review:

Considering the high profile nature of the scandal, I was surprised that The Program wasn't marketed more. I never saw the trailers in the cinemas and when I brought up that I was going to watch this movie in the weekend I was immediately asked by everyone "What's that?" After watching the film it's clear to me that even the studio lacked confidence in the final product.

Few as they may be, there are certainly some redeeming things about The Program. The lead actor Ben Foster gave a solid performance, at a certain point I didn't see him anymore and only saw Lance. Which probably is the biggest compliment I'll give to this movie. I also enjoyed seeing the whole doping operation, it was meticulous and systematic. I really got the sense of the lengths that Lance and his team went to achieve their goals. Although it is definitely disgraceful, I must admit I was rather impressed by how for so long they got away with it all. So I commend the filmmakers for pulling off that aspect of the story. As for the rest of the story, there's more to be desired.

You couldn't ask for better true story material for a sports drama. There was huge potential here, but all of it is lost because of the paint by the numbers approach to the film. Rather than concentrating on a singular character and see them transform over the course of the movie, The Program opts to also give significant spotlight to David Walsh and Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons). This causes the movie to lose focus with each change. The structure of movie made it blatantly obvious that the director and the editor prioritised showing a checklist of major events in Lance's life rather than telling a coherent story. An example of this false priorities was the introduction of Lance's wife. The whole segment of them meeting lasts for about 45 seconds, we get a quick look at a wedding, and that's it, we never see her again for the rest of the movie. That small segment was just there to show Lance got married at one point. It felt completely unnecessary, instead I would love to have seen how this whole operation affected his relationships and friendships.

The Program, is a movie that no-one knows about and unfortunately will be a forgettable experience for the ones who do watch it. I think if I had caught this as a re-enacted documentary on TV, I'd be really impressed. However when it comes to biographically movies in cinemas it just doesn't hold up to the standard set by recent movies such as The Social Network or Selma for example.

Reviewed by bartonj2410 8 / 10

Unforgiving drama that brings yet more shame to the name of Lance Armstrong

'Champion. Hero. Legend. Cheat.' reads the tagline for The Program, Stephen Frears' film about the controversial and illegal route Lance Armstrong took to winning seven Tour de France titles between 1999-2005. It sure is simple yet delivers a powerful message about one of the once most iconic heroes in sport.

David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd), an Irish journalist for The Sunday Times, first meets Lance Armstrong (Ben Foster) before his Tour de France debut in 1993. Impressed with his enthusiasm yet wary of his chances, Walsh predicts Armstrong will only make a minor impact in the world of cycling.

Fast forward to 1999, Armstrong has beaten testicular cancer and won the first of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, as well as launching Livestrong, a charity to help those affected by cancer. Walsh, curious of Armstrong's miraculous recovery and performances, begins to doubt the champion and embarks on a journey to uncover the truth in regards to whether Armstrong was using banned substances to enhance his performance.

With the whole world seeming to side with Armstrong, Walsh faces a lonely battle to unearth the truth and bring both justice and respect back to the sport he loves.

What struck me most about The Program was the extent of Armstrong's deception and the program he and his team imposed to both use and hide the use of performance enhancing drugs. Being a true story, I knew that he had confessed to the use of these substances, I just didn't know how he went about it. The Program was a real eye-opener for me, that's for sure.

Frears' film is precise and wastes no time in trying to paint Armstrong in any good light, in fact the film paints Armstrong in the style of Picasso, his character becoming distorted to the point where he becomes almost unrecognisable. There is no time wasting here and with Walsh's brilliantly titled book, Seven Deadly Sins, being the inspiration for the film, Frears has plenty of ammunition to play with.

The performance of Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong has to go down as one of the best of this year. For a long time, Foster has been impressing in supporting roles, even if the films aren't that good however, The Program marks the first time where Foster gets to take centre stage and he well and truly knocks it out of the park as Armstrong, very much portraying him as the villain of the piece.

There is good support from O'Dowd as the persistent Walsh, taking a step away from the comedy roles you would normally associate him with, and Jesse Plemons as Floyd Landis, a member of Armstrong's team who saw both the good and bad in what Armstrong was doing.

The editing by Valerio Bonelli and Danny Cohen's cinematography of the race sequences perfectly capture just how much of an advantage the drugs gave Armstrong and his team, a task made even more achievable with the fact that Foster was taking performance enhancing drugs while shooting the film.

Armstrong may have been shamed and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles but The Program will bring the story to a whole new audience who may know nothing about his deception. Everything he has ever achieved in sports and with his charity is all based on a lie and Frears' film really powers this home.

Reviewed by Greg ([email protected]) 6 / 10

Lacks Punch

Cyclist Lance Armstrong is a liar. An egomaniac. A delusional celebrity. A jerk. But he's also a cancer survivor and was an inspiration to thousands before the house of cards eventually came tumbling down.

In The Program, director Stephen Fears (The Queen, Philomena) explores Armstrong's rise to fame through his historic seven Tour de France victories and the investigation into doping that eventually lead to his downfall.

Ben Foster (Lone Survivor, The Mechanic) plays Armstrong. The likeness is a bit uncanny. We watch as a young Armstrong heads to France for the first time as a young cycler who couldn't keep up with the European teams that were eventually caught doping. Armstrong is so determined to become the best in the sport that he solicits the help of known dope doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillaume Canet). But when Armstrong is diagnosed with testicular cancer, the career takes a small backstep during his recovery. The sidelines made Armstrong even more determined and within a year he and Ferrari were testing new drugs and new methods of cheating which including blood doping – the injection of oxygenated blood into an athlete before an event in an attempt to enhance athletic performance.

The results were outstanding and Armstrong was not only beating the competition but destroying them. This catches the eye of sports reporter David Walsh (Chris O'Dowd) who is convinced that Armstrong is less the Superman that people make him out to be and more the product of good chemistry and science. But Walsh is alone in his pursuit of the truth. His publisher is skeptical and his peers alienate Walsh after Armstrong uses his celebrity power to sue and alienate all those associated with a reveal of the truth.

Enter one, Floyd Landis (Jesse Plemons of Breaking Bad fame). Floyd is a wide-eyed teammate of Armstrong who immediately tows the line and dopes in an effort to maintain his place within the team. But when Floyd is revealed to have doped after a failed drug test, the wheels begin to come off the Armstrong entourage. Floyd is conflicted with his past and eventually comes clean with the media which only further drops Armstrong's star.

The film ends with Armstrong's famous Oprah Winfrey interview where he reveals that he lied and cheated during all 7 Tour wins.

The Program is a showcase for Foster who is spectacular in the lead role. O'Dowd too is impressive as the hounding reporter. But the film as a whole fails to do much else than skim the surface. The documentary The Armstrong Lie goes into detail on just how big of an asshole Armstrong was. He threatened wives of teammates calling them 'whores' and 'drunks' on record. He threatened and sued newspapers, lied while being a guest speaker at many black tie events and misrepresented his own charity. The Program only slightly details these facts. It casually brings them up or has quick scenes showing the depth of Armstrong's depravity. But Fears throws too much into the film without focusing on one story. He could have focused on Armstrong's deplorable character. Or made the film a reporters pursuit of the truth. Instead the kitchen sink of a very detailed story is thrown at viewers and it fails to resonate in a way that it should. Armstrong was a fraud. The entire world was duped and we should be angry and reminded of that anger during this biopic. Instead we get more of a movie-of-the-week style of film that fails to dive deep into the conspiracy and show all the scars left in its wake.

Still, for those not fully up-to-date in the Armstrong story, The Program is a well-acted entry into the rise and fall. It's just a very involving one.

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