Sunday, 3 July 2011

Film Review: THE EXPERIMENT (2010)

TheExperiment_Poster Co-Writer/Director: Paul Scheuring
Running time: 90 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Thriller
USA Release date: 21st September 2010 (DVD Premiere)

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 3rd July 2011.


This is an American remake of the 2001 German film, Das Experiment. I should say, for the record, that I haven’t seen the original and so I can only judge this one on its own merits. Rest assured that the original is firmly on ‘The List’ for future a viewing (and reviewing). The story is based on the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971. A group of individuals were taken to a makeshift prison where they were split into two groups, the guards and the prisoners. It sounds like it might be an interesting concept and to some extent it is… I’ll tell you more of my thoughts after this brief summary.

experiment02 I should first say that for taking part in the experiment all participants were to be very well paid. This meant that all kinds of people were attracted to sign up. There’s Travis, the peace loving guy who wants money to follow a girl to India, there’s Barris, the repressed guy who has to stay at home and look after his mother, and many others. The one thing they all have in common is that they need the money. Having been split into their respective roles things start off quite jovial enough. However, the guards are warned that they cannot use violence, but must maintain discipline. Also, the rules must be strictly adhered to and failure to comply will end the experiment and nobody gets paid. This causes tension amongst the guards as the prisoners begin to rebel against the rules. One guard, Barris appoints himself the leader and singles out Travis as the chief troublemaker. As the level of the guards’ retribution escalates, it’s clear that something is going to give, and when it does it’s going to be bad.

food_still A decent cast, including Adrien Brody as Travis and Forest Whitaker as Barris did a decent job of what I found, at times, a rather uneven script. Also worthy of a mention were; Cam Gigandet as Chase, Clifton Collins Jr. as Nix and Ethan Cohn as Benjy.

experiment01 There is much you have to take at face value and that doesn’t really help the narrative all that much. I did actually find it quite engrossing for the first two thirds, but it did get a little predictable towards the end. The ending, when it finally came, was a bit of a disappointment I’m afraid. Over all, it’s quite watchable for the first two thirds, but not something I’d give a second viewing to.

My Score: 6.1/10

20ae2e7dd786758118de53a LINKS:
(RT = Rotten Tomatoes)
IMDb Page:
RT Page:


Las Mayanas said...
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Las Mayanas said...

Interesting and perceptive review. We weren't familiar with either the original nor this remake, but we will probably watch it if we get the chance, while keeping your reservations in mind. Very good review.


The fact that this movie is based on true events really speaks to human nature. I just watched it for the first time through my employee subscription to DISH’s TV Everywhere and was captivated by it. I love movies that make me think and this one definitely did.