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The Program

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United Kingdom, France · 2015
Rated PG-13 · 1h 43m
Director Stephen Frears
Starring Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Guillaume Canet, Jesse Plemons
Genre Drama

This biographical film follows the Irish sports journalist convinced that banned substances fuel Lance Armstrong's consistently superior performances during the Tour de France victories. Following his suspicions, he starts hunting for evidence to expose Armstrong as a cheater, slowly unraveling one of the biggest scandals in sports history.

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What are critics saying?


CineVue by

It must be said that Foster - who adhered to the actual doping program during filming - excels as Armstrong. Bearing an unnerving physical resemblance to the fallen cycling hero, he is a revelation in a remarkable tour de force - not France - performance.


Total Film by Andrew Lowry

This fearless reconstruction drives home the dark lie that Lance Armstrong lived – it’s just a pity it doesn’t dig a little deeper.


Time Out London by Dave Calhoun

The Program offers no obvious new revelations and Armstrong remains elusive – but it has an unsettling air that carries us through its more pedestrian patches.


Screen International by Fionnuala Halligan

For all that it promises the thrill of high-speed racing, the crush of the peloton, and the drama of disgrace, The Program works best when it deals with this fascinating case of investigative journalism which saw Walsh doggedly pursue his target through 13 years and the temporary loss of his own reputation.


Hitfix by Gregory Ellwood

The Program works when it has you questioning how on earth this secret could be kept so quiet for so long when so many people knew exactly what was going on.


Variety by Guy Lodge

In the film’s richest performance, Plemons beautifully teases out the ambiguities and potential hypocrisies of Landis’ own moral position, tracing Armstrong’s slippery downward spiral almost in spite of himself.


The Telegraph by Tim Robey

You sense structural uncertainty about what the Armstrong saga connotes and how exactly it was begging to be told. But you can’t take your eyes off Foster.

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