Icarus (2017)

Icarus (2017)

TV-MA

netflix

An Academy-Award-winning documentary that set out to explore performance-enhancing drugs before stirring up a hornet's nest

The Very Best

9.4

Movie

United States of America
English, Russian
Documentary, Mystery
2017
BRYAN FOGEL
Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan, Don Catlin
121 min

What it's about

While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, director Bryan Fogel connects with renegade Russian scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov—a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program.

The take

Director Bryan Fogel, who you might know as the guy behind Jewtopia, initially set out to chronicle his exploration of doping to win an amateur cycling race. He starts off by reaching out to experts to help him with obtaining and administering said drugs, one of which points him towards Russian scientist Grigory Rodchenkov, the director of Russia's national anti-doping laboratory. Rodchenkov eagerly agrees to help him out.

Little did he know that his Russian acquaintance would transform Fogel film from a self-experiment documentary into a true-crime political thriller, when the scientist admits to being involved in a state-sponsored doping scheme of epic proportions on camera. Putin is obviously not amused.

Aside from all the madness that unfolds in this Netflix production, it's Rodchenkov's likeable and eccentric personality that makes the story more relatable and human as well as giving you a rare glimpse into the upper echelons of a country like Russia. As the plot thickens, one can't help but think that Fogel too is in over his head. Rightly award-winning, this is gripping stuff even if you're not into sports!

Comments

what seems to be a journey about a man proving he can fool the doping tests just completely changes into anti – Russian propaganda and a political melodrama. It was good until they were about to prove something only to turn it into a stupid ass propaganda

Best documentary I’ve ever seen. Seeing real events unfolding, mad characters, corruption, doping, what more could there be. Fascinating.

Great movie. Glad i didn’t read what the movie was about because that would probably have made me stray away from the movie. It really made the subject interesting and attention-catching.

As someone who wasn’t very informed on the topic of ‘doping’ I was completely immersed in this film. And then it gets even better.

A totally engrossing film, I just kept saying wow again and again as it progressed. Humor, drama, danger it’s all here.

What was a sports documentary becomes a political thriller featuring as high as some of the most powerful people in the world: Putin’s close circle. The best thing about this documentary for me was that the Russian scientist Grigory is such a fun crazy dude. You want him to be your friend in real life, and that gives another, more humane dimension to the story.

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