BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* begins with director/screenwriter Christopher Bell praising a trio of his childhood heroes: Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. His worship of these iconic he-men led to Bell's efforts in the weight room, but he was always eclipsed in athletics by his brothers: older brother Mike "Mad Dog" Bell excelled on the football field and later in pro wrestling, while younger brother Mark "Smelly" Bell reigned in powerlifting events. While Christopher Bell remained staunchly anti-steroid, his brothers grew larger, thanks to a variety of performance enhancers. With this documentary, Christopher Bell explores not only his own family's steroid use, but how the issue reflects on America as a whole and the country's desire to be the best.
For a subject that is so close to the director and his family, BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* is remarkably balanced. Though Bell narrates his own film à la Michael Moore, this documentary manages to present both sides of the issue with clarity and passion. In addition to discussing steroids, BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* is a fascinating chronicle of men's body-image issues, which usually take a back seat to those of women. It's an impressive debut, and film fans may be curious to see if Bell can create another documentary that may not be so personal.