The Armstrong Lie

An intimate look at a hero’s fall

Directed by Alex Gibney

(R)

***

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Director Alex Gibney has turned a documentary about a sports scandal into “one of the best movies you’ll ever see on the drive and moral relativism that lead to corruption,” said Brad Wieners in Bloomberg Businessweek. As one interviewee says early on, “This is not a story about doping; it’s a story about power,” and Gibney enjoyed unique access because he began work on the project as an unabashed Armstrong fan. Armstrong makes a “fascinating screen object: a dashing egomaniac, by turns likable and snide,” said Jon Frosch in TheAtlantic.com. Though the cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner was forced earlier this year to admit to cheating, he “seems to be clinging to the idea of himself as a wronged warrior.” However betrayed Gibney may feel, the 2008 Oscar winner never looks past cycling’s elemental appeal, said Justin Chang in Variety. “One of the film’s chief pleasures”—copious footage of competitors charging through the French countryside—serves as “a reminder that this sport, however compromised, remains a remarkable human undertaking.”

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