Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
Are steroids really a cheaters’ drug, or are they as American as Rocky Balboa? Funny, honest, intelligent, and intolerant only of the gross hypocrisy that surrounds the subject, this documentary about the use of anabolic steroids in athletics is one of the year’s stand-outs.
”Call it Super Size Me on steroids: Christopher Bell’s in-depth, yet intensely personal look at juice use among athletes attacks America’s body-image obsession from the other side. The picture personifies the debate by focusing on the filmmaker’s two steroid-pumping siblings, but this isn’t amateur hour with the Bell family. He knows exactly what he’s doing, offering a thorough survey backed by no-nonsense interviews from every corner of the issue… Bell’s disillusionments trace back to childhood, when such super-ripped role models as Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger fessed to injecting their way to fame. Bell opens with a series of rhetorical questions meant to reflect his own internal debate over the issue: namely, why should he feel guilty about using steroids when everybody’s doing it?... The discussion ranges from politics to science to pop culture, implicating everyone from George W. Bush to Ben Affleck… He confronts both Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis about the former’s gold-medal disqualification at the 1988 Summer Olympics, despite both runners testing positive for banned substances… The range of interviewees is staggering, and though Schwarzenegger declines to be interviewed, Bell secures a priceless one-on-one opportunity all the same.” — Peter DeBruge, Variety.