ZÜRICH FILM FESTIVAL 2015: THE PROGRAM Film review
British director Stephen Frears’ (2006’s The Queen) The Program also features a media expose, as real life Aussie sports reporter David Walsh (portrayed by Irish actor David O’Dowd) refuses to buy into cyclist Lance Armstrong’s (Ben Foster) hype and self-aggrandizing mythology as the seven time Tour de France champion. Despite resistance from his colleagues and editor, the suspicious Walsh probes Armstrong and his team for taking performance enhancing drugs in order to win their bicycle races. Dustin Hoffman portrays a risk insurance expert who also suspects foul play. The Program indicates that Armstrong didn’t exhibit signs of cancer until after he took EPO, perhaps suggesting, irony of ironies, that doping might have actually brought on his testicular cancer.
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“What price winning?” in capitalist America, where fame and fortune is everything, asks this trenchant, no-holds-barred drama.
L.A.-based reviewer Ed Rampell co-authored “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book” (see:http://hawaiimtvbook.weebly.com/). His interview with America’s former Poet Laureate is in the new book “Conversations With W.S. Merwin.”