Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

16 October 2016

The Program

This movie, with its terrible title – The Program – has a very good central performance by Ben Foster, who I love.

But as it turns out this is just a rather conventional film about a terrible person. The Program is about disgraced Tour de France winner ... actually I've forgotten his name at the moment and I refuse to look it up. You'll remember him, though. He's the U.S. American who did performance-enhancing drugs so that he could win the Tour de France seven consecutive times and then refused to admit he did anything wrong.

Well... the problem with The Program, even though Ben Foster is really great in the movie, is: we know he did it up front, we learn that he was doping all along and just hid it really really well, and he never ever has any remorse about it.

This is sort of hard to swallow, in the sense that there is no one for whom one can root in The Program. We know this criminal will get stripped of his titles. We know he will be caught. And we know he will never admit "defeat", i.e. the fact that he cheated. 

There are a couple of side plots designed to keep us emotionally interested, but none of them really works.

The Program does what it does well enough, but it can't help but be a kind of procedural in which the crime has always already been solved by the intrepid reporter.