, the creator of “‘Bigger, Stronger, Faster
“, is part of a family which grew up on steroids. The filmmaker, who considered steroid use as being cheating, has seen his brothers taking the anabolic drug and then surpassing his physical capacities without anything bad happening to them.
It was this kind of dilemmas that made Bell shoot a documentary that explores steroid use in America.
For the filmmaker, shooting the documentary was more that making a film, it was exploring his inner self as well as an attempt to find the answers to the questions that have obsessed him while growing up.
The most beautiful thing about the picture is that it does not deliver any conclusions. It only asks the viewer to take a little time and decide for himself on which side he stands: for or against anabolic steroids.
One of the most powerful scenes of the documentary is the one in which a body builder says that “steroids are as American as apple pie.” This idea, uttered by another person, comes to stress the tagline of the movie, which is ‘the side effects of being American.’
Bell talks with all kinds of people, from bodybuilders to senators, in order to find an answer to his questions. While some of the ideas of the people whom he interviews are humorous, others are most disturbing.
There is a scene where a coach asks Bell what he would do if someone were to tell him that he needs to take a drug which might have dangerous side effects, like steroids, in order to provide for his family.
All in all, this seems to be a documentary that is worth seeing, and that manages to raise questions while being entertaining at the same time.