Amateur cyclist-turned-docmaker Bryan Fogel takes us to the heart of the doping scandal by becoming a guinea pig.
Imagine a version of Morgan Sperlock’s Super Size Me in which, instead of merely bloating up, Sperlock entered into an uneasy friendship with an evil clown version of Ronald McDonald, and you’ll get a sense of the unexpected depth of Icarus. At first, we see self-medicating doc director Bryan Fogel injecting his tush with thick testosterone, hoping to compete in Switzerland’s Haute Route bicycle race. (The flagrant breach of ethics is thrilling.)
But in order to execute his plan, Fogel collaborates with Russia’s Grigory Rodchenkov, a disgraced doctor who masterminded his nation’s athletic doping program. Icarus eventually shifts into a fascinating exposé of the latter trickster: an Orwell-reading whistle-blower who, before our eyes, becomes a target of Putin and Olympic oversight committees. Fogel is a little out of his depth, but he has a killer tale to tell.
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