Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
Director: Christopher Bell
- 2008 Sundance Film Festival
In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our athletes take performance-enhancing drugs? Director Christopher Bell explores America’s win-at-all-cost philosophy by examining the way his two brothers became members of the steroid subculture in an effort to realize their American dream.
Ingeniously beginning the film by harkening back to the mentality of the 1980s, where the heroes were Rambo, Conan, and Hulk Hogan, Bell recounts how these role models led him and his brothers into power lifting and dreams of becoming all-star wrestlers. Those dreams were soon shattered by the realization that success in those fields required the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Bell uses his personal story as an entree into analyzing the bigger issues that surround these drugs: ethics in sports; the health ramifications, both physical and psychological; as well as the mentality that fuels it all.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster* combines crisp editing of hilarious archival footage with priceless family revelations, as well as interviews with congressmen, professional athletes, medical experts, and everyday gym rats. The power of the film is the way Bell stays away from preconceptions and stereotypes and digs deeper to find the truth and concoct a fascinating, humorous, and poignant profile of one of the side effects of being American.