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The Armstrong Lie

   2013    Culture
Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) masterfully explores the fall of the disgraced cycling champion following the 2009 Tour de France, making use of his extraordinary access to attain rare interviews with former teammates, alleged doping mastermind Dr. Michele Ferrari, and Armstrong himself. What was Lance Armstrong thinking? For years, after seizing international fame as the cancer survivor who won seven Tour de France titles, he fiercely denied accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He used his power to aggressively litigate journalists and publicly humiliate former friends who claimed otherwise. His deceit finally cracked in January 2013, when he admitted guilt to Oprah Winfrey in a television interview that critics decried for only scratching the surface. Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney approaches Armstrong with unique and extraordinary access. In 2009, Gibney was commissioned to make a film about Armstrong's return to the Tour de France, four years after the racing champion had declared retirement. That race would later stir up devastating evidence in the case against Armstrong. But Gibney came away from the experience unable to reconcile the discrepancy between doping allegations and Armstrong's emphatic denials. Then, post-Oprah, Gibney went back to Armstrong for new interviews to extract a more detailed account of his double life. In The Armstrong Lie, Gibney masterfully explores the complexities of the case, interweaving the dramatic action of the 2009 Tour de France, when Armstrong found himself unexpectedly competing against his own teammate Alberto Contador. Gibney attains rare interviews with Armstrong's former teammates and alleged doping mastermind Dr. Michele Ferrari. The film also raises troubling questions about the process of doping regulation. Recently, when asked to give advice to documentary filmmakers, Gibney responded with a motto exemplified by this film: "Embrace contradictions."
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