Matthew Lickona noon, July 29
The Armstrong Lie
Director Alex Gibney makes cinematic lemonade from lemons whose flavor was most likely enhanced through prohibited methods. Gibney had to shelve his documentary on seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong's miracle comeback in 2009, because, of course, it turned out it wasn't a miracle. Rather, it seems it was one last desperate lie from a cyclist who had built a legendary career out of them. You don't have to care about cycling to be captivated by The Armstrong Lie; Gibney uses the sport to provide dynamic visuals and a solid framework, but the story is very much about Lance Armstrong, barely-repentant fallen hero. Angry, driven, testy, intelligent, and a fine example of Shakespeare's "lean and hungry look," he savagely defended his deception even as he built a charitable foundation for fellow cancer survivors. And to hear him tell it, he's just the poster boy for a culture where competition invites corruption. An engrossing portrait of a complicated man. 2013.