29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2010
The Experiment was quite entertaining from start to finish.
It was very satisfying in story ,acting and conclusion.The experiment is where men are paid 1000 dollars a day to supposedly Simulate either a Prisoner or a guard in a maximum security setting,no one knows which they will be until they enter the facility..
Adrien Brody is an uber hottie in my opinion and a great actor he plays an anti violence anti war advocate,but just how long and how much can he take before he changes his way of thinking to an eye for an eye? The stand out was Forest Whitaker as a man given authority as a guard in a make believe world, but in actuality he's s 42 year old man living with his coddling,emasculating mother. He see's this as a way to get back at her by being cruel to those put in a weaker position because he feels weak in her presence.In one shocking scene he pops a woody just after handcuffing and humiliating Brody's character.
Cam Gigandet is evil as another faux guard who in his characters real life lives for sex, drugs and sleep..
He takes a shine to an effeminate faux prisoner and does some very evil things to him..This movie is quite brutal and hard to watch at times,some of the acts that are put upon Brody especially are very humiliating and would be hard for any man to take..
a favorite actor of mine,the much under rated Clifton Collins Jr plays another faux prisoner and tough guy in typical Collins style to the hilt .The climax is a shocking and impactful.All in all a really good film.I would buy it and watch it again.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2010
When looking up the new releases here on Amazon, seeing this movie NOT on the few movies listed on the main page was a real mistake in my opinion. I even went to 3 stores looking for this movie and the first 2 had no idea what movie I was requesting and didn't even have it on release day! I saw a trailer for it a few months ago and immediately knew I had to have it.
The basic story is: Volunteers will be paid for an experiment where they are put into a simulated prison experience. Stressfull challenges are then introduced throughout the experiment. If any physical attacks are observed between the guards and prisoners, the experiment will end and no one gets paid. We meet Adrian Brody and Forest Whitaker introducing themselves to one another prior to the experiment and we see that these are 2 very different people but there is a mutual respect forming. We then find out, some volunteers will be guards and some will be prisoners.
Amazing performances by Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, Clifton Collins Jr. and many more supporting roles, will have you sitting on the edge of your seat through the whole movie. It is clear, at the beginning, some volunteers are going to be trouble and as the movie moves along, power does corrupt even the best of the men but we feel for them because they are told, "you will not get paid if you do not follow and enforce the rules."
I do NOT agree with Amazon's review that this movie "never quite grabs hold". By the end of the movie, I was almost in tears after watching men who respected each other at the beginning, couldn't even look each other in the eye by the end. There isn't much more to say. The synopsis of the movie pretty much tells you what it is about.
5 stars and a must see.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
Based loosely on the 1971 Stanford prison experiment.
A "soft" Liberal; a repressed, verbally abused religious
man; a sadist and latent homosexual; a Mexcian Aryan; a
stereotypical geeky artist; and a slew of supporting
characters are all put within the confines of a psuedo
correctional facility for 11 days. Naturally, the promise
of $1,000 a day attracts the money-hungry test subjects
and the pretense of safety makes the offer even more
alluring, naively subjecting themselves to a much harsher
The subjects are split into two teams: guards and prisoners,
carefully chosen based on psychological profiles. A typical
Hollywood jab as the most cruelest of the guards is the
religious sociopath and the hero of the prisoners a pacifistic
atheist. Most of the "guards" follow suit, expressing their
repression in violent ways towards their "prisoners" and
feeding their need for power.
The actual Stanford test results were shocking as some of the
more abusive guards inflicted physical punishment, sexual
humiliation (even an instance of simulated sodomy), and even
refusing to allow some to urinate or defecate. As with most
movies based on fact, The Experiment closes with a very dramatic
fictional finale (perhaps not too far-fetched had the Stanford
test been allowed to continue).
The pacing is steady at 96 minutes, however, they could have
tacked on 15 minutes of character development before their
incarceration to help along the latter shock of transformation.
The prison setting is dark, unnerving and claustrophobic,
helping to give one the sense of being helpless and
imprisoned among the actors. And it is in this respect that
The Experiment really suceeds. It's fairly memorable, but
nowhere near classic.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
In 1971, one of the most well-known and controversial psychological experiment's in the United States was conducted by Stanford University Professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo. The experiment was known as the Stanford prison experiment and 24 undergraduate students participated in mock experiment in which they would play the role of guards and prisoners. The goal was to promote disorientation, depersonalisation and deindivisualisation.
The students playing the guards adapted to their role rather quickly and ended up humiliating, hurting and causing emotional and physical trauma to the students playing the prisoners and Dr. Zimbardo played a passive role and being a scientist and not stopping the experiment until the woman he was dating confronted him for passively allowing unethical acts to be performed under his direct supervision.
The experiment lasted only six days and after the study was completed, the Dr. submitted his findings to the U.S. House Committee on Judiciary.
Because of his experiment, the findings were quite important but also highly debated. What made the students playing the guards become abusive and oppressive? Was it because there were no clear instructions? Were the guards playing a part of what they felt should be the role of a guard? And this was within six days of the experiment that all hell broke loose.
This experiment was covered in the novel "Black Box" by Mario Giordano and the novel would receive a 2001 German adaptation titled "Das Experiment". The film is similar to 1971 the real Stanford Prison Experiment but in this case, the scientists play a passive role in observation of the inhuman and the guards not only become power hungry and oppressive to the prisoners but they go even further by killing.
In 2010, the American remake titled "The Experiment" which is not necessarily a remake of the German hit film "Das Experiment" but inspired by the film and the Stanford Prison Experiment and is directed by "Prison Break" TV show writer Paul Scheuring (who also wrote the screenplay adaptation) and a film that will be direct-to-video starring Oscar winners Adrien Brody ("King Kong", "The Darjeeling Limited", "The Brothers Bloom", "Predators") and Forest Whitaker ("Criminal Minds", "Vantage Point", "The Shield", "The Last King of Scotland").
"The Experiment" revolves around 26 men who participate in a psychological study in which they can earn $14,000 if they continue to play the role of the prisoner and the guards for two weeks. The study is done by Dr. Archaleta (played by Fisher Stevens) who is trying to examine how aggressive behavior is played out in an artificial prison setting.
"The Experiment" is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1) and the picture quality is wonderful. You can see the detail in the skin of the faces of people, the stubble, the tattoos and anguish on the faces of the characters being oppressed. The majority of the film is shot indoors but you do see vibrant colors more during Travis' dreams as he imagines Bay in India and we see the colors of the reds really pop. But for the most part, the majority of the film is shot in a dreary prison set.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"The Experiment" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and although the majority of the film is dialogue-driven, there are some scenes in which we can hear the prisoners screaming at the guards to people getting beaten up and hit. Even one scene with a piercing high noise when Travis is apprehended and about to be choked by one of the guards. Overall, the film presents crisp, clear dialogue and music by Graeme Revell ("Pineapple Express", "Days of Wrath", "Eleventh Hour", "The Forgotten").
Unfortunately, "The Experiment" comes with no special features but does have BD-Live capability for those who want to register their Blu-ray for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment points or download trailers.
"The Experiment" is a riveting film featuring a wonderful performance by Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker. Forest Whitaker really does a great job of playing the bible-reading, calm and collected Baris who then changes and becomes this abusive and power hungry man.
Both men do carry this film as the performances are needed because unlike "Das Experiment" or even the original true experiment that the film is inspired on, director and screenwriter Paul Scheuring unfortunately chooses to focus more on the inhumane practice of the guards as we see them not only become oppressive but also rapist, murders and for the most part, seeing good people turning bad.
We know that this was the case in the original Stanford Prison Experiment in 1971 and the film does a great job showing that. The problem is that they take the doctor and scientists out of the equation.
With the real Stanford story, we know about the Dr. and him playing a passive role until he is confronted by his date who has ethical concerns in regards to his experiment and then seeing how he lost control over his own experiment and things gone awry. In "Das Experiment", we see how the guards become oppressive but Dr. and scientist in this film have an integral role in which everything plays out in the end.
In "The Experiment", we see Dr. Archaleta briefly in the film. His job is to study the participants who will be playing the police and prisoners but the storyline goes nowhere with it, especially around the character Dr. Archaleta. Why would this man allow one to be suffering from diabetes and having him grow sick? Why would the Dr. allow such brutality to happen. Yes, it happened in the Stanford test and "Das Experiment" but there are scientists that have their own reasoning and in this case, it was getting out of hand that murder, rape and other inhumane things were taking place and yet, no one stopped it.
The whole chilling experiment was covered well in the film but I felt the storyline was not well-conceived, felt a bit rushed and the ending was not at all satisfying. "Das Experiment" shows the repercussions towards the scientists who have let this experiment grow chaotic, inhumane and deadly and allows the viewer to put a face to the people behind the experiment. With "The Experiment", I was not satisfied how they chose to end the film and it was simply a lazy way to end the film and destroyed any potential of the film to achieve a thrilling ending like "Das Experiment".
The Blu-ray release does sport very good picture quality and the dialogue is clear and understandable but for a newer film, was shocked that there were no special features at all. It would have been wonderful for director/screenwriter Paul Scheuring to explain his thoughts on the making of the film especially the ending via an audio commentary but unfortunately, we are not giving anything extra for the film. No interviews, no featurettes...nothing.
Overall, "The Experiment" had so much potential, especially if it was inspired from "Das Experiment". Even if they did a straight copy of the German film in English, viewers would have enjoyed a thrilling ending and a much more understandable plot. But unfortunately, despite the wonderful performance by Adrian Brody and Forest Whitaker and also the thrilling scenes that involve both men, the film just doesn't give the viewer any satisfying closure and the Blu-ray release has no special features at all. So, much potential for this film but unfortunately, this release is best as a rental and not a keeper.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2010
This is perhaps a 5-star movie, but the over intensity prevented me "loving" this movie to a simply "liking" this movie. An experiment in the human psyche is conducted using a prison setting where one third of the participants are guards and two thirds are inmates. They are divided up according to their interview, part of which we get to see as a way to quickly build character. Adrien Brody is a prisoner. He is the ultra liberal atheists. Forrest Whitaker, a religious fellow who believes in absolute right and wrong becomes one of the guards. The two briefly talk and connect prior to the interview process.
The participants are promised a $1,000 dollars a day as long as they follow the rules. Breaking the rules must be dealt with "commensurately" and within 30 minutes or else the red light comes on, the experiment is over and no one gets paid. At this point I suspected two things: 1) The red light would never come on no matter what they did and 2)There were some shills within the group. I was wrong about the second one.
While one of the rules was "no violence" the guards gradually test what constitutes violence. The red light becomes their "God" who "approves" of their action by inactivity. Forrest Whitaker eventually becomes the leader of the guards, even punishing his own guards who have compassion toward the prisoners. Adrien Brody becomes his rival as the leader of the prisoners.
The acting is good. The action is at a good pace. There is human torture and beating as one might expect.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This film is an intense portrayal of the human instinct to dominate and control. The opening images of animals and insects in conflict (rams butting heads, a praying mantis consuming a fly, even microorganisms devouring each other) signal the thematic connection to the conflict that plays out in this film--research subjects randomly assigned to roles as prisoners and guards and left to their own devices. The guards are given only a set of five rules they are instructed to enforce, and they are foolishly advised to avoid the use of violence. The devolution of order into chaos is reminiscent of "The Lord of the Flies" (and there's even a character who resembles the pathetic Piggy--and shares his unfortunate fate). But the film itself is a bit too facile and loose--there's a good deal of action but little in the way of character development, and the ending arrives violently and abruptly. Even the presence of two Best Actor Oscar winners, Brody and Whitaker, cannot rescue this film from its mediocrity.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2011
Two Oscar winners Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker are in this suspense movie about the "experiment," in which ordinary people selected by some "researchers" have to live in a small mock prison for two weeks. Of the twenty-six applicants who passed the test (watching some video) and the interview, five men (including Whitaker's character Barris) are to play the "guards" while the remaining twenty-one (including Brody's character Travis) become the "prisoners."
Before the experiment begins, the participants are informed about the rules for the experiment. One important thing is that the "prisoners" must obey the "guards," even in this mock prison. The experiment begins and soon confrontations arise, with some of the "guards" who take their roles very seriously.
This is supposed to be a psychological thriller, but not many actions of the characters are really convincing. The premise is interesting, but what ensues looks mostly contrived or predictable. One of the "prisoners" becomes sick; one "guard" turns out very sadistic; and so on. Acting of the leads is just OK, though overacting Forest Whitaker repeating "Toilet!" with grimace is unintentionally funny. Supporting players including Clifton Collins Jr. and Maggie Grace (as Travis' girlfriend) did decent jobs, though most of the characters they play are underwritten, even unnecessary.
"The Experiment," an American remake of a 2001 German thriller "Das Experiment" is, not surprisingly, directed by the "Prison Break" creator Paul Scheuring. As you know, the original German version directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel is inspired by Stanford Prison Experiment, which I believe did not end in this way.
Interestingly, for the remake Paul Scheuring has added a new idea to the original storyline: "a red lamp" that shows the termination of the experiment. I see the point the filmmakers are trying to make (obedience to the authorities, abuse of power, etc.), but the presence (or absence) of the red light in the film only lessens the credibility of the story, making the whole situation unbelievable.
With 'guilty pleasure' written all over it, "The Experience" is yet another unnecessary remake. It is watchable, but not as good as the original.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2010
What would so-called normal people do if subjected to oppressive conditions, provided that they are well paid for it, and that their actions are safely supervised, as to avoid serious consequences? Well, that is precisely what some behaviorists have done in their research throughout history, sometimes for the good mankind, and sometimes for unsound reasons. "The Experiment" partially answers some of the many questions in regards to these matters, providing a shocking and unforgettable look at what can happen inside a prison if conditions get out of hand.
Travis (Adrien Brody) is an easy-going fellow who just lost his job at a retirement home. While looking for a new one, he finds an ad in a newspaper which says, "Subjects wanted for behavioral experiment. Two weeks, no experience necessary. Safe. $1,000 / Day." This sounds like a really good opportunity to Travis, an offer he can't refuse. He is easily selected to participate in the experiment, and Dr. Archaleta (Fisher Stevens) informs the chosen group that they would be "simulating the conditions of life inside a state penitentiary." They are told, among other things, that some will not have civil rights, that no violence is allowed, and that not following directives will cause their immediate dismissal from the experiment. In addition, individuals who served time in prison are not allowed. Easy... Right? After all, it is only two-weeks.
Travis becomes friends with Barris (Forest Whitaker) before going into confinement. However, once inside the prison, some men are assigned to be prisoners and others are selected to be guards. Travis becomes part of the prisoner group and Barris will be a guard; this would be a true test of their friendship. With time, we realize that among the chosen men, there is an ex-con, a diabetic, and a psychopath. As you can imagine, this is a potentially volatile mix that will definitely compromise the experiment, affecting the behavior of the participants. Add to this that nobody wants to loose the $1,000 bucks per day that they were promised. In the end, one participant asks another, "You still think we are higher in the evolutionary chain and monkeys?" You'll have to figure out that one for yourself.
"The Experiment" provides food for thought and great entertainment. You will place yourself in the position of the experiment's participants, and would ask yourself what you would do in any given circumstance. A warning, though: This film is a remake of the German film with the same title (Das Experiment, 2001), and is based on the novel "Black Box," by Mario Giordano. I recommend that you see this movie without reading the book or watching the 2001 version, as it will affect your judgment of the film. (USA, 2010, color, 96 min).
Reviewed on September 29, 2010 exclusively by Eric Gonzalez for [...]
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2010
Based on an actual event that took place in the 70's and the 2001 movie Das Experiment directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel,20 men sign up for psychology experiment inside a prison for two weeks.Each of them have different role as prison guards and prisoners.As the two weeks go by one day at a time they slip into their roles deeper and deeper.Things get out of control in the worst way.The violence,rape and behavior are that in prison.Its gritty and real and will be remembered for ever.I saw the 2001 version and its a power house.The actors are in top notch form and director Paul T Scheuring does an excellent job with the men.This wasn't in the theaters and its a shame but thank god its on dvd.This one will stay with you long after the credits role.It stars Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker,Cam Gigandet. Rated R: AND runs 96 minutes.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
I picked up this movie at Red Box because I had read about the Stanford Prison experience and was curious to see it played out in a modern film. It is very realistic and raw without being too much of a violence porn. Great acting.
Got me to thinking. I don't think the experiment would play out the same if it were women.
Not that I think we're inherently good (I'm a woman), just that we are wired differently when it comes to issues of power. I think that one of the subtle messages of the movie is about this very topic. I think women are needed in the lives of men to keep them from doing this to each other. Just my two pennies.
Watch the movie. It's worth it. Form your own opinions.