Jan 15 2014

Why Haven’t You Seen It: The Experiment

Published by at 10:00 am under Columns,Movies

exper

Much like the movie “Compliance”, be prepared to sit down and be sickened by this movie, also based on a 100% story. The Experiment shows us the evil that men can become when you helplessly hand them power, while also taking away the power of some others. You may have seen The Experiment when it first came out in Germany in 2001. Though I do consider Das Experiment to be a much grittier and frankly, better movie, I am recommending this version on the idea that it will be far more accessible to the viewers.

The Experiment is the 2010 remake of that incredibly powerful movie, and does a great job at capturing the same feelings the original evokes. Fear. Sadness. Oh, and rage. This is a movie that will make you angry at times. Angry at what we can do to each other as humans. Angry at what we sometimes allow ourselves to be put through, and angry that this whole thing was orchestrated as an experiment, regardless of the trouble and danger at hand. I think above all else, The Experiment does what the best and most memorable films all do. It holds up a mirror up to us. It shows us ourselves. How, given the right circumstances, we are both the scared child on the bed, and the frothing monster underneath it.

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Adrien Brody seems to like to take roles that challenge and test him as a person.

The Experiment is a movie based off The Stanford Prison Experiment that took place at Stanford University in 1971. That experiment saw 21 people gathered together, half of them randomly split into two groups. You had the prisoners, and you had the guards. Again, to stress, they were chosen at random, but within moments of being given their class, there was a very clear line drawn in the ground. The Experiment (movie) follows two people more closely than the rest of the group. Travis, played by Adrien Brody (who ends up a prisoner) and Baris, played by Forest Whitaker, (who ends up being a guard). Let me ask you. What do you think would happen if you gave one group of people (who had never experienced power) complete rule and authority over others? They say absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I am pretty sure the Standford Prison Experiment is one of the reasons people use that saying.

Again to reiterate, I would watch Das Experiment if I were you. It is the superior of the two movies. I am simply recommending the film that will be easier for many to access. Also, I know some people hate sub-titles. That is to their discredit, in my opinion.

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The original is a staggering movie, though both are quite good.

As you can imagine, things start going pretty bad, pretty quickly for the prisoners. They seem set on reminding the guards that this is all just an “experiment”, but the guards seem set in their roles, and aren’t quick to accept that they are just playing roles. The thing you need to understand is, these people were all being paid, and being told that if one of them walked away or pressed the emergency button, no one would get paid. So there was a real heavy vibe of keeping with this and sticking it through, even though things went south rather quickly.

Okay, I think it is trailer time:

Yes, things get dark, pretty quickly, as they often do when I recommend a movie.

So as you see, the guards starting abusing their power pretty badly. The thing is, everyone who signed up for the experiment, signed up because they needed they money something fierce, so even the people getting abused don’t want to hit the button to stop this. Not only because it means they themselves wont get paid, but because no one else will either, which puts a great deal of pressure on all of them. But is also creates a hellish environment, where the prisoners are being dehumanized, and the guards are fully losing site of why they are there or the difference between right and wrong.

Obviously, Adrien Brody’s Travis is the one person who is very much thinking: this is insane. He sort of becomes the rebel rouser in the group, but also seems to be the only voice of reason in this group where things just get worse and worse. Travis also becomes the main target of the guards. The most remarkable thing is you will be watching this, in awe that it was an experiment that was allowed. As much as this makes a great movie, this is our history. This happened to actual people. As hard as that can be to take from time to time, that makes the film that much more engrossing. This is not just a movie.

This is us.

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Anytime I find myself in a similar situation to this, it never ends well for me.

The one good thing about this awful experiment is that it set in motion a whole new set of rules to how patients could be treated during these types of “experiments”. It took something awful to foster change, as if often the case. So check out Das Experiment and The Experiment. Not just because they are entertaining or interesting, but because this is the shit that used to go on. Believe it or not, as much as some people would like to think otherwise, this is a part of American history. Again, this is us.

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Crazy to think this is actually happened to people willingly.

If you want to know anything more about this “experiment”click here for more deets on the “Stanford Prison Experiment.” Then click here to like my site, then click here to read my stuff. See, it sounds complex, but it is as simple as three clicks.





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3 responses so far

  • E. Lee Zimmerman

    Seen it. Big bucket of ‘meh,’ but I thought the original was more interesting. The true story interests me, of course, ’cause that stuff always does. Nice read.

  • Swaimfan

    There was an episode of “Popular” based on that experiment as well.

    I believe it is “rabble-rouser.”

  • MegaSolipsist

    The experiment was cancelled after 6 days due to excessive brutality from the guards.
    The funny thing was, the people involved could leave any time they wanted to, they would just forfeit their pay. Even when they surrendered their pay to avoid a punishment they stayed in the experiment.

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