Netflix has released the first Icarus trailer. The film follows documentary filmmaker Bryan Fogel as he investigates doping. However, the way his story begins is fairly gimmicky. In order to test the effects of doping, he decides to dope himself under the supervision of Russian anti-doping director Grigory Rodchenkov. But halfway through, the movie changes completely as Rodchenkov becomes a whistleblower on the Russian doping scandal and how the country cheated their way through the Sochi Olympics.
This trailer jumps past Fogel’s self-doping scheme and cuts straight to the conspiracy thriller, which is the smart move, although I imagine if people just start watching this on Netflix, they’ll wonder when it’s going to get to the conspiracy thriller stuff (it takes about an hour). [Update: A publicist for the film says that the first half has been “edited fairly substantially since the Sundance premiere,” so perhaps it plays better now] However, if you’re patient with Icarus, the payoff is astounding, and the implications of Russian meddling extend far beyond sports doping. Basically, if Putin is willing to oversee corruption just to win some medals, imagine what he would do for things that actually matter.
Check out the Icarus trailer below, and click here for my review from Sundance. The documentary hits Netflix on August 4th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Icarus:
In the truly audacious documentary ICARUS, director Bryan Fogel’s bold gambit was this: to investigate doping in sports, Fogel (an amateur bike racer) would dope himself, observe the changes in his performance, and see if he could evade detection. In doing so, he was connected to a 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. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, the two realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory. Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth. ICARUS places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where a miscalculation can cost you your life.