Movie Review – Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008)

Director: Chris Bell

This documentary examines America’s win-at-all costs culture, and it’s seeming need to come down hard on punishing those who go the extra mile, through the subset of bodybuilders and their use of steroids.

Chris Bell manages to keep Bigger, Stronger, Faster informative and entertaining. The main focus is on his two brothers, who use steroids, but the documentary covers much more than that. It’s a very interesting look at American culture from a man who feels almost betrayed by it. He speaks about his idols like Hulk Hogan, and how disappointed he was when he found out that they were using performance enhancing drugs.

Yet through the documentary he reveals that a lot of the perceptions about steroids is wrong, and that they’ve often been used as a scapegoat for all performance enhancing drugs. The documentary examines why some things are not considered cheating while others are, and it really does put the attitudes towards competition under the microscope. There’s also a scathing deconstruction of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who seemed to let his political position influence a change in attitude towards performance enhancing drugs.

Everyone the documentary talks to is interesting, and there’s some human drama thrown in for good measure as Bell captures the reactions of his parents when they find out. I can imagine some would criticize this for being a pro-steroid movie, but I don’t think it’s that so much as trying to figure out why certain things are condemned while others are ignored, or celebrated. It’s a fantastic documentary that uses facts to inform, and I feel like I’m more aware of what steroids are and how the body building culture works after watching this.

I highly, highly recommend this documentary.


2 thoughts on “Movie Review – Bigger, Stronger, Faster (2008)

  1. Short of vitamins and protein shakes, I don’t see why any athlete needs to use performance-enhancing drugs. They didn’t use them back in the day and guys like Jesse Owens and Babe Ruth seemed to do just fine.

    Very thought-provoking post.

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