Director Christopher Bell explores America’s win-at-all-cost philosophy by examining the way his two brothers became members of the steroid subculture in an effort to realise their American dream. Ingeniously beginning the film by harkening back to the mentality of the 1980s, where the heroes were Rambo, Conan, and Hulk Hogan, Bell recounts how these role models led him and his brothers into powerlifting and dreams of becoming all-star wrestlers. Those dreams were soon shattered by the realisation that success in those fields required the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Bell uses his personal story as an entree into analysing the bigger issues that surround these drugs: ethics in sports; the health ramifications, both physical and psychological; as well as the mentality that fuels it all. The power of the film is the way Bell stays away from preconceptions and stereotypes and digs deeper to find the truth and concoct a fascinating, humorous, and poignant profile of one of the side effects of being American.
Sundance Film Festival Programme
This film is part of the Real to Reel documentary season. You can see this and the 17 other films in the season for just €100. Go to the booking page for details of the other films or to purchase this season package.
Chris Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawady