Netflix Documentary ‘Icarus’ Brings Russian Doping To New Heights | Film Trailer


My jaw is dropped, eyebrows are raised and blood is boiling watching the trailer for Netflix Documentary Icarus. Filmmaker Bryan Fogel interviews former Russian anti-doping director Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle-blower to the country’s statewide doping programme, and follows the dangerous journey of corruption and cheating.


In early 2016, Grigory Rodchenkov told the New York Times that Russian intelligence services had helped devise “a way of opening and resealing urine containers previously believed to be tamper-proof“. An investigation ensued and unveiled the “unimaginable level of criminality“, as exclaimed in the trailer. Rodchenkov was awarded a medal for his work after the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which now appears to be a commendation for doping Russian athletes to success.


The origins of the film are astounding. Bryan Fogel was an actor turned amateur biker who “decided to document an attempt to beat the anti-doping tests for a race in Europe“. The process by chance put him in close contact with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov. The Hollywood Reporter writes “their early friendship suddenly [turned] much more urgent as Dr. Rodchenkov’s colleagues [disappeared], and together the two of them set out to expose the entire program.”


Icarus premiered at Sundance Film Festival in January, and was awarded the new Orwell Award which recognizes film that “reveals the truth at a time when the truth is no longer a commodity.” The openness of Rodchenkov is certainly a breathtakingly eye opening watch.


The title is a nod to the Greek mythological story of Icarus, son of inventor Daedalus. Icarus perished by flying too near the sun with feathered waxen wings, despite his father’s warnings. The nationalistic pride of Russia, and disregard for international regulations and discipline, echoes the hubris that led to Icarus’ downfall.


Icarus arrives on Netflix August 4, coinciding with the start of the World Athletics Championships in London. The film will be sure to ruffle a few feathers, but is something I just can’t wait for.




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