'Generation Iron' has pumped-up personalities
Bodybuilders are a peculiar bunch. They're extraordinary physical specimens, driven to sculpt their legs, biceps, shoulders and glutes into chiseled masses of impenetrable muscle. Point a camera at them, though — as writer-director Vlad Yudin does for the engaging documentary “Generation Iron” — and these intimidating mountains of taut flesh reveal themselves to be charismatic, funny, passionate and totally aware of the unusual nature of their chosen lifestyles. As narrator Mickey Rourke puts it, “They're in a freak show, with no circus tent to hide away in.”
Yudin's film is a direct relative of the 1977 hit “Pumping Iron,” which introduced mainstream audiences to the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding competition and helped transform Arnold Schwarzenegger into a household name.
Not much has changed. The science behind rigorous weight training has advanced over the years. Controversial supplements and steroids, which are candidly discussed in Yudin's film, play a larger part in the development of competitive bodybuilders.
But the men showcased in “Generation Iron” still mirror the aggressive, athletic protagonists we're accustomed to seeing in fictional and nonfiction sports features. They are relentless competitors, consumed by their desire to succeed at their chosen sport. They accept no shortcuts. That's why they are the best of the best at what they do.
Sean O'Connell is a contributing writer to the Washington Post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Review: Cotillard shines in Dardennes’ moving social drama
- Review: ‘A Most Violent Year’ speaks softly, carries much menace
- Review: ‘Black or White’ finds dramatic promise in the grey areas of American race relations
- Review: A tired gimmick weakens thriller ‘Project Almanac’
- Review: Law can’t manage to keep ‘Black Sea’ afloat
- DVD reviews: ‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ and ‘The Book of Life’
- Pittsburgh-set ‘Me and Earl’ big at Sundance, gets distribution deal
- Romero’s son plans ‘Living Dead’ origins story
- ‘Let It Snow’ filming in Millvale