The Armstrong Lie

(USA, 2013, 122 mins, DCP)
PRODS Frank Marshall, Matt Tolmach, Alex Gibney
SCR Alex Gibney
CAM Maryse Alberti
EDS Andy Grieve, Tim Squyres, Lindy Jankura
MUS David Kahne
PROD CO The Kennedy/Marshall Company / Matt Tolmach Productions / Jigsaw Productions


Heroes rarely fall from grace with the velocity of Lance Armstrong. Aiming to capture the cancer survivor’s inspirational bid for an eighth Tour de France title, Alex Gibney (Oscar winner for Taxi to the Dark Side) instead found himself dedicating four years to documenting a scandal that the US Anti-Doping Agency would ultimately deem “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” However, it’s not just the elaborate nature (and exorbitant price tag) of Armstrong’s deception that renders Gibney’s film so fascinating. It’s also the insight it affords us into a guarded figure who has previously admitted his guilt but otherwise revealed nothing. The director’s unprecedented access to Armstrong and characteristic rigour culminate in a compelling investigation of the ethics of winning.

“After US cyclist Lance Armstrong’s confession on the Oprah Winfrey show… there was still one big question remaining: why? Gibney’s engaging, punchy documentary, which includes footage of a post-confession interview the director conducted with Armstrong, probably comes as close to answering this as anyone ever will… Above all, it’s a portrait of a talented sportsman who only really cares about two things. One is winning. The other is being in charge of his own story… Watching a man live a lie for so many years that he starts to believe it [is] an absorbing experience.”—Lee Marshall, Screen

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