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One of the more intense films to emerge from the Sundance Film Festival, Kyle Patrick Alvarez's gripping "The Stanford Prison Experiment" (read our review) is a dramatization of a notorious 1971 psychology experiment that went very, very wrong. It's a potent piece of work, featuring a terrific ensemble cast (Michael Angarano, Ezra Miller, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist, Tye Sheridan, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Mann, Moises Arias, Johnny Simmons, Olivia Thirlby and Billy Crudup), and which takes the filmmaker into different territory following his first two pictures, "Easier With Practice" and "C.O.G." Like any filmmaker who can easily switch gears, Alvarez's cinematic tastes are wide ranging. In the latest entry in our series Movies That Changed My Life, Alvarez discloses how films as diverse as "Vertigo," "Showgirls" and "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" left an impression. "The Stanford Prison Experiment" »
- Edward Davis
Director: Simon West
Running Time: 92 minutes
It’s been a while since we’ve seen William Goldman‘s name on a script. The now-legendary writer brought us Marathon Man and All The President’s Men, before going on to write industry bible Adventures In The Screen Trade and fantasy classic The Princess Bride. Now he’s back with Wild Card, an adaptation of his novel Heat. It’s an Elmore Leonard-style tapestry of world weary characters seeking vengeance or enlightenment in the neon jungle of Las Vegas. You could easily see an actor-director combo like Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel taking on the material – though of course the book was published in the Eighties, »
- Steve Palace
Read More: Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano on the Dark Side of Human Nature in 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' At 18 years old, Tye Sheridan has a career that would make even the most accomplished actor jealous. In the four years since making his acting debut opposite Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," Sheridan has continued to work with some of the biggest and most acclaimed names in the business, including Jeff Nichols and Matthew McConaughey on "Mud," David Gordon Green and Nicolas Cage on "Joe," Rodrigo Garcia and Ewan McGregor on "Last Days in the Desert" and more. Joining Indiewire over the phone from the Montreal set of another envious project -- Bryan Singer's "X-Men: Apocalypse," where he's taking on the role of a young Cyclops -- Sheridan spoke about working on his latest heralded indie, "The Stanford Prison Experiment, »
- Zack Sharf
Are people inherently evil? Is society just a barrier between us and our worst impulses, preventing us from exacting violence on one another, albeit through laws enforced with the thinly veiled threat of comparable violence? Must absolute power always corrupt absolutely? If left to our own devices, without checks to our authority, would we abuse it? The Stanford Prison Experiment, director Kyle Patrick Alvarez’s chilling dramatization of the infamous Philip Zimbardo study, posits a painfully pessimistic response to those questions. Not only would abuses of power occur without safeguards in place – they would occur almost immediately.
In the 1971 study at the center of this relentlessly grim thriller, volunteers (college guys, earning $15 a day) are separated by a coin flip into “prisoners” and “guards.” In the basement of a campus building, the guards are given free reign to watch over the prisoners and assert their authority in whatever manner seems most appropriate to them. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Kyle Patrick Alvarez's "The Stanford Prison Experiment," now playing in limited release, took fourteen years to get made, and finally arrived at Sundance 2015 with a stellar ensemble including Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Olivia Thirlby, Tye Sheridan and Michael Angarano. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the uncompromising nature of the film, the reception was divided (our own rave is here) but even those on the more negative end of the spectrum tended to use words like "compelling," "vivid" and "effective" in their critiques. And those are adjectives that this film (which scooped the Screenwriting award for Tim Talbott) shares with the best in the wide and variegated genre of the prison movie. The microcosmic possibilities of life on the inside have been mined many times for dramas, comedies, spoofs and thrillers that, while set in penal institutions or situations that resemble them, actually comment on human psychology or on the society outside. »
- The Playlist Staff
The pioneering 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment may have been hell for its participants, but that's exactly why the new movie based on it was enticing for its many up-and-coming young actors. Foremost among them are Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano, who play two Stanford students drafted to participate in a psychology study that will split young men into groups of prisoners and guards. The experiment was meant to last two weeks, but less than a day in, it had already devolved into an eye-opening treatise on abuse of power, as the guard played by Angarano and the prisoner played by Miller locked horns and were pushed to psychological extremes. Vulture recently caught up with both actors to talk about how well they'd known each other before they found themselves screaming at each other on set for weeks.The experiment in this movie kind of doubles as a metaphor for acting, so »
- Kyle Buchanan
You'll be kicking yourself if you don't see "The Stanford Prison Experiment" in theaters. Seriously. And, no, I'm not just saying that because I happen to know director Kyle Patrick Alvarez socially or that it's a Sundance Jury Award-winning movie or that it depicts one of the most shocking events to occur at one of America's greatest Universities over the past fifty years.* The real reason is that besides the questions it raises about the human condition and our ability to descend to abject cruelty, "Stanford" features a once in a life time cast that will dominate Hollywood for the next 15 to 20 years.* *It also has earned strong reviews to date including a 71 grade on Metacritic and 78% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Based on true events, the new drama chronicles the 1971 psychological experiment that found Stanford University students sorted into the roles of prison guard or a generic prisoner. In theory, »
- Gregory Ellwood
Read More: Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano on the Dark Side of Human Nature in 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' Kyle Patrick Alvarez's "The Stanford Prison Experiment" is the kind of drama that leaves you anguished with questions once the credits roll. Based on the infamous 1971 experiment by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, the film chillingly recounts the turmoil and violence that gradually erupted when 24 male students were split into guards and prisoners so that Dr. Zimbardo could study the psychological effects of imprisonment. All of the ethically challenging questions that surrounded the project so many decades ago are alive and well in Alvarez' dramatization, which makes the movie quite a tormenting experience. Luckily for the crowd at the drama's New York City premiere Wednesday night at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas, some of the film's more polarizing issues were explored as Dr. Zimbardo joined Alvarez and cast members Ezra Miller, »
- Zack Sharf
True life dramas are sometimes inherently less thrilling because you might already know the outcome. In the case of The Stanford Prison Experiment, the film is as riveting as the actual study was, and perhaps even more so. Director Kyle Patrick Alvarez and his amazing ensemble cast do real justice to the actual event and in turn put forward a captivating look at human nature. Unsettling, even upsetting at times, it’s a challenging movie, but one that’s about as good as any so far in 2015. It’s a small flick, but one that really demands to be seen. It opens this weekend and truly is a must see. The Stanford Prison Experiment is a slightly dramatized look at the historic study of the same name by Dr. Phillip Zimbardo (played by Billy Crudup). The professor selected 24 male students out of 75 applicants and had them take on completely randomly »
- Joey Magidson
The Stanford Prison Experiment, a tough, unnerving watch based on a real-life research experiment held in the early '70s at Stanford University, says as much about human nature and the effect of power over both the powerful and the powerless as it does about modern society's penchant for reality television and the constant desire to not only witness, but revel in the downfall of others. Are you a good personc You'd probably say "yes", but how closely are any of us looking when asked the questionc The titular experiment was started by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (played by Billy Crudup), a Stanford professor who took 24 college kids over the summer of 1971 and, with the flip of a coin, assigned twelve to be guards and twelve to be prisoners in a simulated prison on the Stanford campus over the course of two weeks. An ensemble led by the likes of Ezra Miller »
- Brad Brevet
This exasperating film, winner of Sundance's screenplay and Alfred P. Sloan prizes, about the price of power tells the real-life story of Dr. Zimbardo's 1971 simulated prison study involving 18 male undergrads, randomly assigned the role of prisoner or guard, who are stripped of their humanity (among other things) by each other—and by their sadistic, psychologist puppeteer. (Think a more homoerotic, and claustrophobic, "Compliance".) The cast boasts many a dreamy indie "it" boy, including Ezra Miller (in a ferocious but all too brief turn), Keir Gilchrist, Jack Kilmer, Michael Angarano, James Wolk, Tye Sheridan and fresh-faced Sundance breakout Logan Miller. Billy Crudup astutely leads the ensemble as Philip Zimbardo, whose ill-conceived faux prison breaks them down and throws them into degrading, uncomfortable and sometimes erotic scenarios. Olivia Thirlby (in what is mostly a throwaway role) co-stars as Zimbardo's skeptical fiancee. Read »
- Ryan Lattanzio
The trailer for The Stanford Prison Experiment was recently released, and if you were appalled just watching it, think of how the experience must have been for the men who had to live it. The movie, starring Ezra Miller and Michael Angarano and due in theaters on July 17, is based on the true story of a trial conducted by Dr. Philip Zimbardo (played by Billy Crudup in the movie) at Stanford University in 1971. If you learned about this in school, you probably remember the general gist of the experiment: A sampling of male volunteers were split into two groups, guards and prisoners. They lived in a faux prison setting, and as the trial went on, their behavior and personalities appeared to be greatly influenced by their assigned roles. Here's a basic breakdown of the study - the details of which you can find at the experiment's official website - and the incredibly disturbing results. »
This exasperating film, winner of Sundance's screenplay and Alfred P. Sloan prizes, tells the real-life story of Dr. Zimbardo's 1971 simulated prison study involving 18 male undergrads, randomly assigned the role of prisoner or guard, who are stripped of their humanity (among other things) by each other—and by their sadistic, psychologist puppeteer. The cast boasts many a dreamy indie "it" boy, including Ezra Miller (in a ferocious but all too brief turn), Keir Gilchrist, Jack Kilmer, Michael Angarano, James Wolk, Tye Sheridan and fresh-faced Sundance breakout Logan Miller. Billy Crudup astutely leads the ensemble as Philip Zimbardo, whose ill-conceived faux prison breaks them down and throws them into degrading, uncomfortable and sometimes erotic scenarios. Olivia Thirlby co-stars as Zimbardo's skeptical fiancee. Read More: 2015 Sundance Film Festival Awards The film is a grueling experience but it works thanks to licks of black humor and Ezra Miller's »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Remember learning about that terrifying prison experiment gone awry in psychology class? There's a new movie, The Stanford Prison Experiment, that will tell the tale of the infamous 1971 social trial. Ezra Miller and Tye Sheridan are among the young men posing as prisoners for professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo (Billy Crudup), opposite Michael Angarano and several others as faux guards. The trailer is deeply disconcerting, which means the movie is going to be even more disturbing. The movie opened at Sundance this year, and it'll be released in theaters on July 17. »
Read More: How I Shot That: Dp Jas Shelton on Capturing the Claustrophobia of 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' From director Kyle Patrick Alvarez ("C.O.G."), "The Stanford Prison Experiment" promises to reenact the horrifying 1971 project that put innocent students behind bars and their untrained peers in control of them as guards. Led by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, the infamous psychology experiment had unintentionally detrimental results as the students embodied their roles as guards and became increasingly violent. The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, appears to be just as chilling and intense as the experiment itself. The unsettling trailer -- filled with all of the scary signs that made the science that justified the project seem dubious at best -- is sure to make you quite uneasy. The ensemble includes Billy Crudup, Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Olivia Thirlby and Michael Angarano. "The Stanford Prison Experiment »
- Meredith Mattlin
Back in August of 1971 on Stanford University’s campus, 18 young men were selected for a psychological experiment simulating the effects of a prison environment on both prisoners and guards. The results were famously shocking and controversial, and the study became a case study of psychology courses everywhere.
For years a version of this story has been trying to get off the ground, and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez (C.O.G.) finally made it happen this year at Sundance. The Stanford Prison Experiment is a scarily accurate recreation of the events, with even the film’s set built to a near perfect model of the actual dimensions the “prisoners” were held in. Lane Scarberry said in her Sundance review that the film is, “a claustrophobic tale of ego and wits under duress that retains suspense not in the outcome but in its execution.” Here’s the full synopsis:
What happens when a college psych study goes shockingly wrong? »
- Brian Welk
“I had no idea it would turn out this way,” an ominous voice says over the trailer for upcoming drama “The Stanford Prison Experiment.”
Set in 1971, the film dramatizes Stanford University’s controversial psychological experiment that cast college students as prison guards and inmates pitted against each other in a mock jail. Billy Crudup stars as psychologist Philip Zimbardo, whose book “The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil” inspired the film.
“The Stanford Prison Experiment” bows in theaters and VOD July 24.
- Marianne Zumberge
It remains arguably the most notorious psychological experiment ever conducted by students and to this day sends chills down the spine of many a shrink. In 1971, Stanford University conducted an experiment in which student volunteers were put into a simulated jail where some of the students were made to be prisoners and others were made to be guards as an attempt to study human nature and reaction to authority.
What they failed to anticipate was that the human element went out the window in just days as the personalities of those involved quickly changed to their new roles, the guards becoming sadistic abusers and the prisoners meek and submissive victims.
Now a new indie film has been made which documents the famed incident with Crudup starring as psychologist Philip Zimbardo who was behind the experiment. Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Jesse Carere, Keir Gilchrist and Thomas Mann also star. »
- Garth Franklin
The Stanford Prison Experiment Trailer. Kyle Patrick Alvarez‘s The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) movie trailer stars Olivia Thirlby, Ezra Miller, Jesse Carere, Billy Crudup, and Thomas Mann. The Stanford Prison Experiment‘s plot synopsis: “It is the summer of 1971. Dr. Philip Zimbardo launches a study on the psychology of imprisonment. Twenty-four male undergraduates are randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner. Set in a simulated jail, the project unfolds. The participants rapidly embody their roles—the guards become power-hungry and sadistic, while the prisoners, subject to degradation, strategize as underdogs. It soon becomes clear that, as Zimbardo and team monitor the escalation of action through surveillance cameras, they are not fully aware of how they, too, have become part of the experiment.”
This film looks great. If you have seen The Experiment (based upon the real-life experiment), you know exactly what you are going to get with this film. »
- Rollo Tomasi
The first trailer has arrived online for the upcoming psychological thriller The Stanford Prison Experiment, which stars Billy Crudup as Dr. Philip Zimbardo, a Standford University professor who launched an experiment in 1971 to study 24 male students playing the roles of prisoners and wardens in a mock prison. Check it out here…
The Stanford Prison Experiment is set for release July 17th in the States and features a cast that also includes Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Olivia Thirlby, Johnny Simmons, Thomas Mann and Tye Sheridan.
- Gary Collinson
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