The Armstrong Lie @ The Ross

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Lance Armstrong. That unstoppable bicyclist who excited his fans in seven Tour de France competitions. Lance Armstrong. That talented athlete who made us believe in the strength of the body and its ability to take us to the finish line if we practice and focus on our goals. The story of Lance Armstrong is one about triumph. It is about reaching for the American Dream and catching it. That is until your story turns rotten, and you have to bow your head to return the proverbial laurel wreath and, while you‘re at it, the keys to the city. Oh, and don’t forget those seven Tour de France titles you apparently ’earned’ bicycling around the bend, up the hill, and down the slope. Enter documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney who takes us into the world of the Tour de France and the darling of the sport Lance Armstrong in his documentary The Armstrong Lie. We know the story: Armstrong, vehemently denied taking performance enhancing drugs, then finally confessed to Oprah Winfrey in January of this year that he had lied about it. We invested in his truth … we could not help it … well, the man was diagnosed with testicular cancer and beat it! Yes!

Lance Armstrong confesses to Oprah Winfrey

Lance Armstrong confesses to Oprah Winfrey

Gibney documents well each and every event, taking care to give the audience only a glimpse into Armstrong’s life growing up. The panoramic views of the European countryside are spectacular, but border on distraction from the story. Of particular interest are the parts of the Tour de France, the grueling tour created in 1903 and organized by Henri Desgrange. The routes, the stages, team assembly, riders, and of course the rabid fans along each trail all converge to bring to relief the Armstrong lie and the sheer confidence he projects when denying each and every accusation; yet, the Lance Armstrong who emerges after-confession is vexing. He is too poised; too confident–almost proud. When all is revealed, you cannot help but believe–really believe–that he lied and got away with everything by telling the truth … eventually.

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The Armstrong Lie plays through December 19 at the Ross in Lincoln.

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