Title – Icarus (2017)
Director – Bryan Fogel (Jewtopia)
Cast – Bryan Fogel, Grigory Rodchenkov
Plot – A documentary exploring the effects doping has on athletes, as filmmaker and cyclist Bryan Fogel enters into a planned program of doping to increase his riding performances that takes a turn for the unexpected after he is introduced to Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov.
“If this is true, it’s an unimaginable level of criminality”
Review by Eddie on 26/10/2017
Purchased by Netflix for the sum of around $5 million dollars, explosive doping documentary Icarus is the type of doco that can be summed up as one being in the right place at the right time as filmmaker and cycling enthusiast Bryan Fogel gets caught up in something much larger than he intended as he looks to see what types of effects doping has on his performances as he continues to race in professional biking events.
Icarus seemingly started out its life as Super Size Me or Catfish like documentary in which Fogel would focus his attentions on his own personal ride through a supported plan of doping, to not only prove you can dupe the system in place to stop drug cheating in sports but also get some evidence on what type of enhancements can be gained when a professional uses doping to improve their own performances but it really does become a whole different beast once Fogel comes in contact with Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov.
Saying too much more about Icarus would ruin its best attributes as Fogel’s film operates at its highest levels when it throws things at you that you didn’t see coming and even while the film feels a little manufactured in its construction and version of timelines, there’s till clearly occurrences here that would’ve been impossible to foresee coming to fruition.
The events that do take place throughout the course of Icarus’s runtime (which spans a number of years) are also events that have far reaching affects for sporting codes around the world and there’s revelations within Fogel’s film that would have huge ramifications for various athletes and sporting stars from all over the globe as we begin to become aware of just how intense certain aspects of sport doping has been.
It’s a credit to Fogel that he manages to inform and instruct us of these deep-seeded issues in a manner that becomes understandable, even if the film does sag a little at times in its drawn out 2 hour run-time, whilst the films often larger than life characters feel like they’ve jumped straight out of the pages of an exaggerated narrative, no more so evident than in the form of the moustached Rodchenkov, who truly is a unique character.
Final Say –
There’s something slightly off about Icarus’s construction and also treatment of its supposedly by chance narrative movements but there’s still a highly fascinating and topical issue at its core and for those involved in high-end sporting spectacles such as the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics, Icarus is an important and incendiary documentation of a long-term and secretive cheating ploy.
3 ½ injections out of 5