The Armstrong Lie Review

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When Alex Gibney was offered unprecedented access to Lance Armstrong's 2009 Tour de France comeback, a triumphant sports documentary was planned. But then old doping allegations resurfaced and the story changed dramatically...


For two decades, cancer survivor and cycling champion Lance Armstrong defied the homily about cheats and prosperity, until a long overdue doping bust destroyed his reputation, stripped him of his Tour De France victories and derailed Gibney’s documentary, originally set to be about Armstrong’s 2009 comeback. Now, armed with his denial-era interviews and a candid new session with the disgraced athlete, Gibney comes to bury, not praise, yet he arguably soft-pedals the betrayal of millions of cycling fans. It’s still a complex tale of moral relativism — if everyone else is doing it, why can’t I? — and institutionalised corruption.

A documentary of two halves, Gibney's character study of Armstrong is tough and forensic. But whether through a lingering admiration or the film's origins as a straightforward celebration of the cyclist's talents, there are moments when its powder remains a little dryer than perhaps it should.