Netflix Review • Icarus Documentary
Reviewed by Chantelle Dusette
This is no ordinary documentary. Think ‘Super Size Me’ but in the form of drug testing. But really, really……not. Good. Bryan Fogel is on a quest to conduct an experiment to see whether he can do a Lance Armstrong and find a way to take performance enhancement drugs whilst training, in preparation for an upcoming cycling race in France, in an attempt to cheat the doping system for testing.
Bryan cycles the ‘Haute Route‘ which pitches itself as ‘the highest and toughest cyclosportive in the world‘ and participates drug free, finishing in 14th place, which is no mean feat, considering the race is 7000 ft of climbing, across 7 miles.
Bryan is on a mission to improve on his last performance and approaches scientist Don Catlin, to see if he would be wiling to design a programme to help him get pass every doping test clean. The pair hatch a plan to use the facilities at WADA (world doping anti-agency) and run tests but Catlin gets cold feet at the last minute and backs out. Instead he introduces Bryan to his good friend, Grigory Rodchencov, the director of the Olympic laboratory in Moscow of anti-doping. A Skype conversation later, the two men talk and agree a plan of action. Taken that all in? Tense enough for you? What neither men could have possibly predicted in that call, were a series of events that would result in a real life crime thriller being played out, with both Bryan and Grigory as the unwitting lead actors.
I do not want to spoil this but it reaches the heights of Putin, involving the Sochi Olympics and the KGB or the FCB as I learned they are now called. Watching this unfold with no one involved in the documentary having a clue this story could end. Was. For me. In a word. Terrifying.
‘Icarus’ won the award for best documentary at Sundance this year, with good reason. I need not say anymore, except – watch it.
Take a look at the trailer