Bigger, Faster, Stronger (2008)

July 01, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Everybody wants to be Superman. It is the American ideal to be strong, quick, and amazingly athletic, but how far will we go to chase that goal? Chris Bell’s documentary film, Bigger, Faster, Stronger, thoroughly examines America’s obsession with performance enhancing drugs, mainly steroids, as we are presented with both sides of the story and no solid standing. This documentary is truly eye-opening; a discussion-starter that will exercise your mind about image and the competitive spirit being influenced by the use of scientific advantages.

Chris Bell puts together a balanced documentary on the concern of performance enhancers, and integrates it well with the story of him and his two brothers and how they got caught up in steroid usage to become a turbo versions of themselves. Bell doesn’t quite take sides, as he shows differing viewpoints through the voices of sense on both ends. It never feels manipulative, but it gives us iconic images, such as Rocky Balboa annihilating a Russian boxer, Hulk Hogan smashing Andre the Giant, and Barry Bonds blasting a ball into outer-space, and lets us make up our own minds on the “good” and “bad” of it all.

Chris Bell is a fantastic reporter, as he doesn’t stay on the safe side with his interactions with the people he talks to that are on the juice or off it (save for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but that’s understandable).  We’re fed facts and stories from both side: Vitamin-C leads to more deaths than steroids, steroids are keeping a man with muscle-deficiency alive, steroids killed a young baseball player, “roid rage” is completely exaggerated, steroids influence a dangerous obsession with image and so forth. We are given a complete meal of facts, opinions and areas to decide for ourselves.

Bigger, Faster, Stronger is a documentary that is sincere and complete, and one that lets us decide what to think about steroids. It doesn’t make the decision for us, but rather, it opens our eyes wider to view the complete picture. The tagline describes the film perfectly: “is it still cheating if everyone’s doing it?” After you watch this documentary, you’ll get a sense that cheating has now integrated itself into sports to become part of the game.

Potential Drawbacks:

Some might find the documentary a bit tiring towards the end, as it runs out of juice a bit.

Film Recommendations:

Super Size Me
More Than a Game



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