Review: Bigger Stronger Faster* B

A Film Review By Stefan Vlahov

I’ve never claimed to be an expert at any particular subject matter, even when said subject matter is something that I have historically shown thorough knowledge of. Filmmaker Chris Bell does the same with his film Bigger Stronger Faster*, which explores the influence steroids have on American society, even though he possesses a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Throughout the film Bell, who is himself a former steroid user, acts not only as a giver of information, but also as a pupil of society. He consults with experts and fellow users, not only about the physical and psychological effects of the drugs that can be determined by straight science, but also the moral and ethical consequences that these people have to face. So this film may be the most complete picture of steroid usage ever put in film form as it deals with absolutely all angles and aspects of it. Whether one will embrace this documentary depends on their stance on steroid usage. In many ways, Bell tackles the issue of steroids in a much different way than most media outlets. Bell takes a neutral stance, and wants the viewers to decide for themselves if steroids are for them or not. But in order to do that, he needs to gloss over recent tragedies like Eddie Guerrero’s death and Chris Benoit’s murderous rage followed by suicide, and he does, instead focusing on steroid users like Hulk Hogan and Arnold Schwarzenegger who are getting older and are still well-off. In fact, for an anti-steroids person like myself, I found it very frustrating that the film did not raise this important fact – that steroids increase chances of heart failure in users almost two-fold. Still, the reason I felt good about this film’s existence is that even if Bell elects to show only convenient information, he still prevents himself from propagating a pro=steroid message, and in fact refrains from sending any message at all. I happen to think that that when a documentary simply documents a trend or an event, it ultimately represents the quintessential image of what a documentary should be and should procreate. Bigger Stronger Faster* is that type of documentary and I can’t help but recommend it.

One thought on “Review: Bigger Stronger Faster* B

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