The Experiment was an interesting academic study - so it's obvious this film would be interesting at least. But as the experiment's story or a psychological study it brings very little to the table: the acting skills are not that moving, the direction choices are not new and there isn't a cinema voice being developed. What I mean is: this one shows about 10% of what the story could be: historically and cinematically.
Not as visually inventive as The Experimenter, but an interesting film nonetheless. Alas, the coda, where various characters address the camera "explaining" the film, is not redundant but amateurish. I wish Alvarez cut those snippets out of the final cut.
Given the growing Prison Industrial Complex, militarization/impunity of police, normalization of authoritarianism, culture of fear(...), this is a film I should be calling critically relevant, not the same analysis-free pop-psych-friendly 'human nature' version we already know (which, incidentally, also does nothing to redeem the experiment). A mediocre film that coasts, safely & lazily, on compelling subject matter.
Whilst Hirschbiegel's 2001 thriller 'Das Experiment' conveys Zimbardo's 1971 experiment with some useful artistic license, this version contextualises a crucial social science epiphany to a new generation. It is a competent effort worthy of inquiry.
The performances, the period design, and the overall style of this gripping indie underdog were just fantastic. Though, the treatment of the material never goes beyond surface-level (which is odd considering this movie was in development for over a decade).
Despite the happenings, the themes here are humanistic, as it analyzes how humans are often given a random status ascribed to them from birth, much like the random coin flip of getting selected as a prisoner or a guard. The film-- perhaps thankfully-- lightens up the shocking tone with some dark humor, but it's still a harsh, if fascinating, study of how humans can feel superior to others to exploit them.
Powerful. Intense. A dramatization I always wanted to see since learning about this experiment in psychology class. Far superior to the other psychology Sundance film The Experimenter, The Stanford Prison Experiment is riveting and shocking. It's well crafted, beautifully shot, transportive, and features great performances. It's a tad too long, features weak subplots, and gets repetitive. Still, a very good film.