The Experiment - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Experiment Reviews

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July 11, 2016
Criminally underrated film.
Super Reviewer
November 25, 2015
A stupid movie about a psychological experiment that makes no sense. The men in the role of prisoners are a bunch of imbeciles in every way imaginable and the ones playing guards are sick sociopaths, so what is the point here? Even worse, though, is the terrible ending.
October 3, 2015
The ending was not realistic. But the whole idea f the movie was intense and sick in a good way :)
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2015
Just stick to the German version.
August 3, 2015
One of the best movies that I have seen, it's extremely violent and the acting of Brody & Whitaker is just perfect, love the attitude of the movie. This movie proves that there's actually a animal inside of you, great movie. So for this being one good movie from this year, and the over the top performances by all and the way they show suspense and action, I give " The Experiment" a perfect B.
½ June 18, 2015
An enthralling movie that really makes you think with great performances by both Brody and Whitaker. I would recommend it. Forewarning though, some scenes are a lot harder to watch than others and the rape scene seemed rather forced. Sorry, bad joke.
February 20, 2015
I'm split on this one. On the one hand, it was directed and acted quite well, but on the other hand, it's a complete exaggeration of human emotion.
January 2, 2015
You can really see how the famous real life Stanford Prison Experiment from 1971 could have inspired this screenplay.
I liked the movie much more than I was prepared to.
Thumbs up.
September 6, 2014
I remember watching the German original of this and enjoying, but actually think this version is the better version. Adrien Brody has never stood out to me before, but I really enjoyed him in this and the character he plays, along with a great performance from Forest Whitaker also. This really does reflect social environments, rules and power trips and throw in the crime and inmate politics and a tad longer, it seems it reflects your regular prison too. Impressed!
½ August 16, 2014
Amazing. And i will whatch it again and again :(
August 2, 2014
(First and only viewing - 5/28/2011)
½ June 26, 2014
Good film, but crap ending. Needed more explanation at the end.
½ May 11, 2014
Perhaps I should have watched the original before I watched this because I honestly really, really enjoyed this. I couldn't find a copy of the original that had subtitles but I will get around to it someday and I just couldn't wait anymore. Although it is being called a remake I have read some things that have stated it was just inspired by the original and the actual event that happened but to tell a similar story and change some of what happens a bit. Not like it matters, it is labelled as a remake and it always will be. Perhaps it is good to see a 'remake' first so an opinion isn't tainted but I do like to see the original first. Anyway, I enjoyed it, like I said. It's a gut-wrenching experience that just makes you hate humans, we humans think we're so evolved and advanced by we're so close to just giving into our animal instincts, it's quite scary. I have said in the past that I like to know who the main characters are in a movie for me to care about them, I won't just care for a character because they're the main focus but you really, really care about the prisoners in this, whether we know about them or not. You're given little bits and pieces of backstory for some characters, especially the main ones but whoever they are you just feel so bad for them because of how the are being treated. Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker give exceptional performances in a movie I'm sure wasn't very easy or fun to make, I'm sure by the end of it they were all stressed out even if just a little bit. They're both relatively calm characters but they both end up the leader of their respective sides soon enough. Quite a lot of things are left open, especially the ending and I don't know if that's poor writing or done intentionally because from my interpretation of it Whitakers character has a deep down repressed anger and then it just unleashes in this experiment, Brody has about 15 minutes of development before the actual experiment begins and we're shown some backstory for him and know he's a peaceful kind of guy but not so much backstory for the other lead. This isn't a film that really is one of those movies you go away and theorise about but still, it appears that some things are open for interpretation, whether that's a good thing to you or not is up to you. Camera work was good, really kept the tension going, script too, made everything interesting and on the edge of your seat. I was really invested in this film and when the ending happened, which I won't spoil, but you can see coming a mile off, I was so happy and just wanted to shout at the screen. Well done film for getting me invested. Of course Cam Gigandet is the one who plays an asshole who goes loopy first, of course....
½ May 10, 2014
The Experiment (Paul T. Scheuring, 2010)

As is almost always the case, there is a lot of hooting and hollering on the internet about how The Experiment is yet another crappy American remake of a movie that is much, much better. And in many ways, I tacitly agree with it; Olivier Hirschbiegel's 2001 film Das Experiment got four stars from me and is pretty high up in my Top 1000, while this remake gets two and a half stars. But I feel I kind of need to defend this movie from some of the aggressors, because the arguments I'm seeing...don't make a lot of sense when you compare the two films. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Plot: The Experiment's title makes a good deal more sense to students of recent history when you put the words ?Stanford prison? in between them. Twenty-six men are chosen from a pool of applicants. They are divided into guards (nine) and prisoners (seventeen) and put into a small, self-contained world meant to resemble a prison...and then the watchers sit back and see how long it takes these people, who were for all intents and purposes equals on the outside, to fall into their roles, with all that conveys. The two groups shake out pretty quickly into their natural orders, with pacifist Travis (Oxygen's Adrian Brody) becoming the de facto leader of the prisoners, and meek office worker Barris (Panic Room's Forest Whitaker) finding himself in the odd position of being the leader of the guards. You know where this is going, but there are other interesting/dramatic/amusing side stories being played out as well.

CAUTION: The next paragraph contains spoilers for Hirschbiegel's movie. Be warned.

The main argument I keep hearing about how much better the 2001 film is in comparison to this one is that it's closer to what really happened. I'm sorry, folks, but that's sheer, unadulterated bullshit. Do you really think that daring escape in the climax of the 2001 movie happened that way? (Christina Maslach, upon whom Franka Potente's character was based, did object to the experiment, and it was her intervention that got the experiment shut down, but she did not help bust the prisoners out.) ?Based on a true story? means exactly that, and the folks who are writing the screenplays are going to change details for dramatic tension. And, given that a decade elapsed between the two films and that they were made in two different cultures, the details the scriptwriters change are going to be different. The particular hidden side we end up seeing to Chase (Easy A's Cam Gigandet) was added because that's a part of the American public consciousness/primal fear; the screenwriters in Germany might not have even had it cross their minds, because it's not the huge bugaboo in Europe that it is an America. If you're going to complain about a movie for working strains of tension inherent to its culture, that's not a problem with the movie.

That said, where the movie went was kind of predictable, and in ways I wish it hadn't been. It makes sense in the scope of the film for Scheuring's screenplay to have most of the prisoners be shallow stereotypes, but that doesn't make them any more satisfying (and it also tips his hand as to one character who becomes an unwitting catalyst to the events in the final quarter of the film; it's an ambitious play, but because of the way Scheuring structured his characters, it doesn't have the impact it could have). And, well, the climax, which has taken so much heat...it's obviously drawing from Hirschbiegel rather than actual events, but where Hirschbiegel threw in a curve ball or two (the major one is alluded to above), Scheuring went with the most logical probable outcome, after throwing in one character revelation that made not one damn bit of sense (nor of difference, when it came right down to it), and robbed much of what should have been a fist-pumping satisfactory climax of its rah-rah-rah-ness. (That said, he does set up the denouement, which is quite the depressing anticlimax, and in many ways it's the most effective part of the movie.)

I wanted this to be a better movie than it is. But with that said, I rather liked it; any chance Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker get to flex their onscreen muscles is probably going to be worth at least a watch, and neither disappoints here. Worth checking out if you stumble upon it at Netflix. **
½ April 27, 2014
Very hard to watch. Lots of random mental illiness in a small room.
February 16, 2014
Great movie, acting was great. highly recommended!
February 2, 2014
Great movie for a Sunday afternoon!
January 25, 2014
Shocking, disturbing, compelling, very violent.....a fictional story based on a real life experiment. Utterly exhausted after watching that.
January 21, 2014
Even though the acting is quite awesome - Forest Whitaker especially -, this is all too rushed and ambitious for a 90 minute film. I think this idea could be brilliant as a 6-to-10 episode TV series, extending the ordeals of The Experiment and properly detailing the aftermath of The Experiment, i.e. battling the big corporation in court, the men's new outlook on society, etc etc, it's something I'd love to take on if I get the chance.
½ January 9, 2014
It has its moments and its flaws.
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