Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Bigger, Stronger, Faster ((2008))
Filmmaker Chris Bell points the camera at his brothers and himself -- all of them users of steroids -- for this thought-provoking examination of sports, competition and the unyielding pressure to succeed. By exploring the reasons behind steroid use and its effects within his own family, Bell asks whether the winning-is-everything attitude that's so prevalent in American society has truly built a better athlete.
This is a very good documentary because it easily passes the two requirements to make a documentary, which are: it must teach you something, and it must be entertaining. In this film, a young man turns the camera on himself and his two brothers to explain how and why young men might be seduced into the lure of steroid use, how our culture played a role into their decisions, and the facts behind these performance enhancing drugs, which we are all aware of, but know so little about. Of course, all of this would be terribly academic if not for the subtle humor and witty diatribes about how conflicted we are when we worship our big, strong celebrities and athletes, then turn on them when we discover they are not actually supermen. This film really worked. It was informative without being preachy, and personal without being weepy. I highly recommend this.
A rather frank view of the hypocrisy toward anabolic steroid use. On one hand we want to say it should be illegal and on the other we give a nod of approval toward other types of performance enhancers. There is a part which was quite sad dealing with the filmmakers brothers and parents who all appear to be swallowed up in the problem that is any type of drug use when it goes from the realm of casual and/or necessary use into addiction. Presents multiple viewpoints in both positive and negative lights which should be the goal of any film calling itself a documentary.