Experiment, The (Review)

EXPERIMENT, THE
(9/21/10; Thriller)
Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace, Clifton Collins Jr., Cam Gigandet, Fisher Stevens, Travis Fimmel, Ethan Cohn
SCR: Mario Giordano, Paul Scheuring
DIR: Paul Scheuring
MPAA: R for strong disturbing violence including a rape, language, some sexual content and nudity.
1 hour 36 mins

The Experiment is based on the Stanford prison experiment, the true story of a group of scientists who organized twenty people to carry out a psychological experiment: chosen individuals are made to role play as prison guards and prisoners to see how they behave in these positions.

The opening sequence (with animals attacking each other and horrible human conflicts) tells us everything we need to know: every creature has the potential to be awful to another.

And that’s exactly what happens in this disturbing thriller that’s a remake of the 2001 German film Das Experiment, directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Predictably, power corrupts a few bad guards and the situation turns ugly fast. It’s a tense, harrowing drama with strong performances from two recent Oscar winners (Brody and Whitaker) tension throughout.

The Experiment was dumped onto video and, like so many other quality movies for grown-ups, deserved better. This is one messed up flick, and that’s a compliment. (Stage 6)

— DENNIS WILLIS

Author: Dennis Willis

Dennis Willis is an award-winning producer, TV host, producer, director, editor (he preferred Avid until a torrid affair with Adobe Premiere, and the rest is history), author and film critic (print and radio). Dennis produced and hosted the TV programs Reel Life, FilmTrip, Soundwaves (1983-2008) and produces the annual Soundwaves Xmas program. He is currently the film critic on KGO Radio in San Francisco, and a member of both the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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