Everyday Activist - Icarus (Oscars 2018)

Posted on Saturday, January 06, 2018 at 08:00 PM

Icarus (Oscars 2018)

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Of my friends, I was in the minority as I didn’t think Icarus was anything special. Apparently, according to them my lack of interest was due to the fact that I’m not a huge sports fan; however, I have the closest connection to the film given the filmmakers interview founding president of WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), Dick Pound. In the early 2000s, he was a guest at the international dinner hosted at the University of Lethbridge. I ended up sitting at his table along with the University president and chancellor. I also closed the entertainment for the evening with an East Indian Bollywood style dance.

I have to say I enjoyed the original premise of the documentary where Bryan Fogel wants to beat the anti doping system under the supervision of a scientist to find out just how easy it was for Lance Armstrong and other athletes to do. At first an American scientist, Don Catlin, was going to help him, but then later declined saying his reputation was on the line. By admitting that the system was easy to beat and he knew how to do it should cause concerns, but instead he takes the heat off himself by recommending his former Russian colleague, Grigory Rodchenkov. The film then focuses on Rodchenkov’s story, which would have been better as a Hollywood “based on a true story” type movie. It could still happen as has been the case with other whistleblower films such as Snowden.

Doping is so common, I’m not sure why effort is put into stopping it. Despite the health risks to the athletes, performance enhancements don’t guarantee a podium placement, as Bryan Fogel proved with his personal doping experiment. Towards the end, the documentary talks about how Russia never had an anti-doping period, making their 11th place showing at the Vancouver 2010, comical. They were cheating and STILL couldn’t at least place in the top ten for medals? So they upped the ante on their cheating skills for Sochi in 2014 and got caught, losing their first place medal standing. Even with the blatant disregard for the rules, Russia still competed in Rio.

Icarus is a long shot to make the Oscar's final five. One of Us and Chasing Coral have a much better chance. Hopefully, I’ll get around to reviewing them before we find out for sure. The Last Men in Aleppo, the sequel to last year’s Oscar award winning short documentary, White Helmets, was also quite moving. Much like Icarus though, it involves the Russians killing people as well as nothing changing within the global community after so many years and thus also a long shot. Maybe when more people are brought up to speed and become angry enough change will happen. Until then, all the documentaries mentioned above can be found on Netflix.

Calgary Showtimes: Icarus >


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.