x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

At times hilarious, Bigger, Faster, Stronger is also sobering as it deftly places steroid use smack in the middle of the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.

The Bell brothers in Bigger, Faster, Stronger.
The Bell brothers in Bigger, Faster, Stronger.

Faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound - is it Superman or just Americans on steroids? In Bigger, Faster, Stronger, the amateur body builder and documentary filmmaker Chris Bell explores the phenomenon of steroid use in America, first through the experience of his two brothers and then through the attention heaped on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the Olympics and professional sports. More disturbing than the drug use, however, are the motivations behind it. Bell convincingly indicts American society and its insistence that every single person should be the biggest, the fastest, the strongest, the best. "America can't stand losers," bellows a helmeted George C Scott as the eponymous focus of the movie Patton, standing before a gigantic American flag. Bell's brother falls prey to this kind of cultural belittlement, refusing to relinquish an unrealisable dream to gain fame as a professional wrestler even though he recognises he is putting his wife and child at risk. There are other broken lives visited along the way, wrecked not by steroids but by the evaporated dreams that the drugs promised to fulfil. At times hilarious, Bigger, Faster, Stronger is also sobering as it deftly places steroid use smack in the middle of the never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way.