Every now and then, the film world uncovers a story so impacting, so relatable and so wonderfully shared that it is hard to keep to oneself. ICARUS, a Sundance 2017 winner and now available on Netflix, is about one cyclist’s journey to win that spins into the highest echelons of world sports and politics. Fanfare for the common man quickly turns into an Orwellian sized story involving the scientists, lawyers, media and politicians who have shaped our understanding of amateur and professional sport through primarily the Olympic Games.
The co-writer, director, and documentarian, Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist seeks the world’s best to determine if doping will make a difference to his own cycling journey. No amount of Human Growth Hormone could prepare him for his likely unknowing courtship with Russia’s top sports scientist, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. The ensuing story uncovers how Russia at least and other countries can attempt and succeed at enabling their athletes to beat the international anti-doping system.
The film also shares the personal saga of Grigory Rodchenkov, a man trapped by his profession, knowledge, and importance to preserving Russia’s dominance on the athletic world stage. What Fogel achieves in this film is the equivalent to Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me – except Fogel’s self-discovery and shared findings are not just with one company and millions served. Icarus details how a major superpower has controlled and planned its athletic dominance involving the highest levels of government and questions the resolve of the International Olympic Committee to make necessary changes because of global politics. Netflix acquired the rights to Icarus at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Unquestionably, bookmark, watch and share Icarus as your next go-to non-fiction documentary film.