Untold: Hall of Shame (2023)

Untold: Hall of Shame (2023)


A conventional sports documentary that arrives at some catharsis despite an overload of information



United States of America
Crime, Documentary
Barry Bonds, George W. Bush, Joe Biden
79 min


'Roided-out Tim Montgomery could sure run fast, but not fast enough... from the law (I'll see myself out).

What it's about

Former sports nutritionist Victor Conte recounts the BALCO scandal, wherein Conte illegally supplied anabolic steroids to professional athletes.

The take

This installment in Netflix's series of sports documentary films, Untold, relies too heavily on information to pad its runtime. Even with intriguing parallel storylines that explain what Victor Conte was doing to secretly deal performance-enhancing drugs, and what investigators were doing to try and catch him, the story begins to repeat itself, forgetting to place more emphasis on analyzing this information and finding personal insights into the BALCO scandal. That said, Victor Conte himself is admittedly a fascinating criminal, seemingly remorseful for the lives and careers he's damaged, but still fascinated by the idea of synthesizing substances to push sports beyond their physical limits. By the end, there's a real moral grayness to this whole ordeal, putting into question what some athletes' goals really are, and whether or not certain sports organizations willingly play along with fraudulence or not.

What stands out

Apart from Victor Conte, former track and field athlete Tim Montgomery also shares the spotlight here as a person who knew full well that he was doing something unfair and illegal, but wanted to chase the high anyway. You can sort of see where he's coming from—it's a fascination with the human body and what it can be modified to do, without leaving permanent damage. But then you remember that sports are meant to be played fairly with other people, and that there is a difference between regulated play and unchecked scientific experimentation, and Montgomery's fantasy looks even more irresponsible than before.


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