Icarus

An American filmmaker and cyclist unwittingly wades into a global scandal when a Russian scientist leaks shocking details of a vast doping conspiracy.

Year: 2017
Certificate: 15
Director: Bryan Fogel
Starring: Bryan Fogel, Grigory Rodchenkov

Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/80168079

I’ve heard many things about this documentary. I’ve heard about how revealing it is and how well put together it was. It was one of those things, where is didn’t want to watch it because I had very high expectations and didn’t want to find out if that was unfounded.

Icarus, follows the story of film make Ben Fogle who, as an avid amateur cyclist, was devastated when he found out his sporting hero Lance Armstrong was found to be using performance enhancing drugs. For years, Armstrong competed and won many titles in cycling and, it seems, managed to avoid any positive drug tests along the way. He was eventually exposed by his team members and after some soul-searching he confessed to using a range of drugs in his career.

This inspired Fogle to, with the help of a few scientists, attempt to cheat at a race and see if he can cheat the system just as his hero had done and of course see if it helped his performance.

He competes in the hardest amateur race in the world and comes 14th. Nearly a year later he begins taking testosterone and other drugs that will help him better his position but ultimately due to various reasons he comes in 24th.

I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t need to watch it now, you’ve told me the ending!”. Well I assure you, dear reader, I haven’t even touched the surface of Icarus…

During us training he is helped by Russian scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov who confesses to Fogle, that Russia has a state sponsored doping program and he is at the centre of it. This implied that there were Russian athletes who were competing using illegal performance enhancing drugs and they were being enabled by the Russian government.

When, unrelated to Icarus’ the rumours of the doping scandal became public, Ben and his producers ferad that Dr. Rodchenkov was going to be silenced and they decided to help him by helping to gather the right information and finally bringing him to the US for his own protection.

What started as a simple documentary regarding if it would be possible to cheat and get away with it, turns a sharp corner into the well publicised story of a nation cheating under the authority of the top of the political chain.

The documentary is enthralling and on occasions you won’t believe what you are seeing or hearing. Icarus isn’t the most amazingly made documentary. Filled with Skype calls and phone calls, I actually found it easier to watch with subtitles on which helped me keep track of what people were saying.

If you have any interest in sport or interest in how performance enhancing works, this is a great insight to how people cheat and how they are (usually) caught. A documentary I would definitely recommend.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

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