‘Lance’ Review: ESPN’s Absorbing Lance Armstrong Documentary Still Reveals Little

IndieWire | 1/28/2020 | Staff
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Lance Armstrong was an exulted hero to millions, before he was an **** cheater to millions more. In her new two-part documentary “Lance,” director Marina Zenovich separates the good from the bad, the hero from the villain, before crashing them together in one unifying portrait of one man. It’s harder than it sounds. The seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor used his improbable medical recovery to boost his athletic profile, and then used his Wheaties box-approved athletic status to boost awareness for teens with cancer. Everything fell under the “Lance Armstrong” brand, so everything came crashing down when his career-long doping habit was exposed in 2012. The scandal tarnished the good he did for the sport, the good he did for cancer research, and the obvious good it did for Armstrong himself.

Now, seven years after he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, Zenovich checks in Armstrong to see what he’s learned, how he’s doing, and who he’s become. The answers are relatively simple: He’s learned little, he’s doing OK, and he’s very much the same man he’s always been. While retracing the athlete’s rise and fall with the benefit of hindsight can be compelling (even cathartic for anyone who sported a Livestrong bracelet), the lack of revelations leave the film stunted. Once you untangle the sticky web of Armstrong’s life, you’re left with the simple impression that he’s neither his best or his worst self: He’s just a guy.

Bro - Term - Lance - Armstrong - Bar

Perhaps “bro” would be the more applicable term. “Lance” starts with Armstrong recounting a recent run-in outside a random bar. Just as he’s getting into his Uber, he hears someone call his name from across the street. “Hey Lance!” He looks up. “**** you!” Soon, not only is the first shouter still cussing him out, but his friends join in. So...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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