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Stars: Ben Foster, Chris O'Dowd, Lee Pace, Jesse Plemons, Elaine Cassidy, Guillaume Canet, Edward Hogg, Dustin Hoffman

Director: Stephen Frears

Those who don't like the sight of needles going into flesh should probably stay away from this account of the career of disgraced cycling champ Lance Armstrong.

Foster is excellent as Armstrong, 'winner' of the Tour de France for seven consecutive years from 1999. But the truth was that the American was full of drugs, from eco to testosterone. On the other side of the coin, he also recovered from testicular cancer and donated 50 million dollars to cancer research.

At the end, Armstrong is unrepentant: 'I was racing against 180 other cyclists,' he asserts, 'all of whom were doping'. But in fact he was taking banned substances from the beginning of his French 'triumphs' in 1995. Indeed, the movie hardly reflects well on the authenticity of the race today.

Plemons, from TV's Breaking Bad, is also right on the money as Floyd Landis, the 2006 winner, who finally blew the whistle, enabling journalist David Walsh (O'Dowd) to print the story that had previously only been whispered about.

As a film, this is mercifully light on the actual cycling, but it does drag a bit in the last two reels, and has a rather unnecessary cameo from Dustin Hoffman.

David Quinlan

USA/UK 2015. UK Distributor: StudioCanal. Colour (unspecified).
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 3, Swearing 2.

Review date: 11 Oct 2015