The Armstrong Lie

"Very Good"

The Armstrong Lie Review


This biographical documentary about disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong feels eerily gentle compared to filmmaker Alex Gibney's recent films, the WikiLeaks doc We Steal Secrets and the Catholic priest expose Mea Maxima Culpa. But then it was originally conceived as a celebration of Armstrong's comeback at the 2009 Tour de France, which is still at the heart of the film.

It was during this comeback that Armstrong's stellar image started to slip, with old rivalries and gurgling rumours surging to the surface. Gibney intercuts interviews he shot at the time with more recent chats, including a conversation immediately after Armstrong taped his notorious confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey. So we vividly see Armstrong's two-faced personality. Along the way, Gibney also traces the cyclist's remarkable rise to fame, his near death from cancer and the secret doping system he used to win the Tour de France seven times from 1999 to 2005. Armstrong's rationale is that everyone else was doing the same thing, so it was actually a level playing field.

Only of course it wasn't, because many cyclists remained clean and were edged out of the winning position as a result. Gibney also talks to a wide variety of experts, journalists and fellow riders who discuss the sport's culture of omerta (a mafia-style code of honour). From the news reports, we already know about the many years of deception, which is why society no longer holds professional athletes to such high, clean standards. It's clearly more about the money now than the human achievement. And there's so much cash to be made that competitors will break every rule there is if they think they'll get away with it.

What makes this film worth a look is Gibney's astonishing access to Armstrong himself. In 2009, he virtually lived with Armstrong as he prepared for and raced the Tour de France, so there's a connection between the two men that brings out startling insight. But the focus on the 2009 event also tilts the film out of balance, because Gibney now knows that he was being lied to at the time. Gibney skilfully juxtaposes interviews conducted with Armstrong throughout his career to make this clear. But we only learn about the lies, not the truth.

Watch 'The Armstrong Lie' Trailer



The Armstrong Lie

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

Run time: 124 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 14th November 2013

Box Office USA: $0.4M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classic

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Fresh: 94 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Matthew Tolmach

Starring: as Himself, Betsy Andreu as Herself, Frankie Andreu as Himself, Reed Albergotti as Himself, Johan Bruyneel as Himself, Daniel Coyle as Himself, Michele Ferrari as Himself

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.