The Armstrong LieReleased on November 8, 2013 2 comments
Director Alex Gibney can’t be blamed for having a grenade tossed in the middle of his earnest film, one that started out as a chronicle of Lance Armstrong’s return to competitive cycling. When the bottom fell out and Armstrong became Pariah Numero Uno, Gibney was forced to re-interpret his documentary, which he’s done with excellent results.
Like so many who fall from grace, Armstrong remains one of the most compelling and charismatic figures on the scene. The fact that he’s also a superb athlete, cancer survivor, liar, cheater, skirt-chaser and overall horrendous dude only add to the drama that will forever surround him and his tarnished legend. Cancer survivors who found inspiration have every reason to hate him, as apparently do several family members and former friends, those who have found themselves on the business end of his bullying and seemingly endless deception.
Though beyond all that, what remains hard to stomach is not Armstrong the disgraced figure, but instead his legion of two-faced corporate supporters, who drafted press releases claiming Armstrong’s Come-To-Jesus admission was a wound on their red/white and blue souls, as well as a festering blight on all that is decent within this country. In addition to his chillingly effective examination of Armstrong’s smoldering carcass and dying career, we wish Gibney would have taken these fair-weather dirtbags to task as well.
Even now, you’ve gotta wonder where the outrage is against the companies who backed this guy for years before their shameless about-face when it all fell apart? They all knew what was up – they just didn’t care. Lance was too important as an ATM. As long as the hypocrisy held and the checks cleared, Armstrong could have been a dog molester and the stock-option crowd wouldn’t have blinked. Decency holds no quarter on the southern end of balance sheets.
Drugs or not, Armstrong ascended to icon status for several reasons, beyond his abilities as a super jock. He and his corporate stooges were experts in manipulation, scratching the ever-expanding underbelly of minion followers who look to others to tell them what and how to think. Such types will always be dedicated to the pursuit of materialism, envy and bullshit.
They and Lance all deserve one another.