The Program follows an Irish sports Journalist (O’Dowd) who becomes convinced that Lance Armstrong’s (Foster) performances during the Tour de France victories are fuelled by banned substances and starts to hunt for evidence that will expose Armstrong.
When booking these tickets at the London Film Festival, I was intrigued and interested from the single trailer that I’d seen. Intrigued in the sense to see how Ben Foster could portray the sports most famous athlete, as well as Chris O’Dowd in a semi-serious role (in which he did bring his humour and wit along with the serious) and interested to see how the film overall handled the subject matter.
Especially in the opening moments of the film, it was shot superbly and I was hooked in immediately although it did seem to wain after a while. This was particularly evident towards the end of the film where I didn’t feel a sense of completion.
The Program is a great showcase for Foster, who really makes this film as the titular character and O’Dowd does also perform well in his role but the film hardly does anything else but skim the surface. As the film was stretched over a large time period, this could have been the issue in which the film tried to cover too much in just over an hour and a half.
The documentary The Armstrong Lie goes into more detail of personality of Armstrong – how he was threatening of the wives of his teammates; threatened and sued newspapers; and mis-representing his own charity. The Program only hints at these facts and it would’ve added greatly to the film if these points were emphasised more or even if the film was more focused on more of a particular time frame of Armstrong’s life.
Although the performances were well accomplished, the problem with the film that it lacked punch. It was a fascinating film, even though it did have it’s hiccups.