Actors: Lance Armstrong, Reed Albergotti, Betsy Andreu
Director: Alex Gibney
Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Release Date: February 11, 2014
Run Time: 124 minutes
I’ve never been very good at sports, but it has more to do with my attitude than any lack of physical abilities. As a child, I found myself only interested in competition if it simultaneously involved the companionship of friends. My concerns were always more aligned with the mentality of playing than they were in winning, and that makes me less of a competitor than those with the die-hard athlete attitudes. While I respect that the element of ambition and drive certainly has a place in competitive sports, I have never had the attitude that winning is the only point. Once winning becomes the only objective, there are no ideals or morals which won’t be discarded in order to achieve this goal, and Lance Armstrong has become the poster child for this mentality.
The Armstrong Lie examines the competitive drive which caused Lance Armstrong to do whatever it took to win, though the significance of these choices are enhanced by the first part of his story. Long before there was any proof or evidence that Armstrong had cheated during the races, he was an icon and hero for cancer survival. Despite having never been a winner prior to his disease, Armstrong became a role model when he survived testicular cancer and returned to racing a superstar. From this very first win to the very last, it has been proven that Armstrong utilized illegal methods to win, including steroids and blood transfusions.
Though it took years to prove, Armstrong was eventually uncovered as a cheater in every one of the races that he won, and in 2013 he was publicly disgraced and was stripped of all seven Tour de France titles. The fact that he admitted his guilt in an interview with Oprah did little for his celebrity, though he utilizes moral relativism in the interviews for this film and still arrogantly defends his actions. It seems that because many of the racers were taking steroids and finding ways to cheat, Armstrong believed himself justified in his actions. This arrogant hypocrisy is a glaring indicator of an ugly side effect of celebrity entitlement and crass competitiveness.
The special features include a commentary track with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), as well as a Q&A which also includes Bill Strickland, Jonathan Vaughters, Betsy Andreu and producer Frank Marshall. A few deleted scenes are also included.
Entertainment Value: 7.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8/10
Historical Significance: 7/10
Disc Features: 6/10