Armstrong Lie (10/10)
you’ve had experience with a pathological liar, you can’t begin to know
what the simple phrase means. A pathological liar isn’t someone who says
she didn’t take the candy when she really did. That’s just a liar. A
pathological liar is a psychopath who is charming and believable and
twists facts and events into such a convoluted miasma that anyone
uninformed has no alternative but belief.
Pathological liars are narcissists who care only for themselves. They
will go to extraordinary lengths to preserve the false image they have
created and they have no concern for the damage they do to others, both
financial and psychological.
the tale of Lance Armstrong, who is presented in this documentary as
one of the most notorious pathological liars of the 21st
Century (so far). Produced and directed by Alex Gibney, this is not what
it started out to be. In 2008 he commenced on making a documentary about
Lance Armstrong’s life story, which was compelling, concentrating on his
effort to come back after his 2005 retirement and win an 8th
Tour de France in the 2009 Tour. Despite a life-threatening bout with
testicular cancer in the ‘90s, Armstrong went on to win the Tour de
France seven consecutive times, which was unprecedented. He founded a
much lauded charitable organization devoted to fighting cancer and
raised over $300 million dollars.
10 cameras to shoot the Tour, Gibney ended up with a titanic 200 hours
of film that he condensed into the movie he thought he wanted to make,
and was pretty much ready to go when 2011 happened. Gibney watched Tyler
Hamilton detail Armstrong’s “doping” on “60 Minutes,” and knew the movie
he had made “would never fly.” More revelations occurred and suddenly
Gibney’s film wasn’t the feel-good movie he wanted to make, but a movie
about Armstrong’s lie.
has interviews with most of those involved, like Michele Ferrari,
Armstrong’s doctor and coach who helped him dope, Betsy Andreu, who
testified that she witnessed Armstrong admit to doping in a hospital
room (and whom Armstrong sued), and David Walsh, a sportswriter who was
the first to expose systemic doping in cycling. Gibney interwove the
film he shot in 2009, including lots of interviews with Armstrong, with
interviews he shot after Armstrong finally came clean, even after he
appeared with Oprah for his grand mea culpa. In fact one interview with
Armstrong took place only hours after the Oprah interview.
a fascinating film. Any documentary that lasts over two hours is
probably too long, but I actually hated to see this end. It’s
beautifully shot and edited. Even in the end, when you know the horrible
things Armstrong did to good people who only wanted the truth to come
out, you can’t help but realize how charming he is. That’s what allowed
him to achieve such notoriety in the pantheon of evil liars. But you
really have to see this to appreciate the story.