For two weeks, 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards in a prison. The "prisoners" have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the "guards" are told to retain order without using physical violence.
The movie is based on the infamous "Stanford Prison Experiment" conducted in 1971. A makeshift prison is set up in a research lab, complete with cells, bars and surveillance cameras. For two weeks 20 male participants are hired to play prisoners and guards. The 'prisoners' are locked up and have to follow seemingly mild rules, and the 'guards' are told simply to retain order without using physical violence. Everybody is free to quit at any time, thereby forfeiting payment. In the beginning the mood between both groups is insecure and rather emphatic. But soon quarrels arise and the wardens employ ever more drastic sanctions to confirm their authority.Written by
The first cinema version had an insert in the beginning of the movie which stated "This is based on the Stanford Prison Experiment". Since Prof. Philip Zimbardo wasn't asked by the filmmakers - and the movie doesn't really show the true experiment, but an exaggeration, the insert was changed to say "This movie is based on the novel Black Box" See more »
Without fancy tricks and clichés, this movie tells us why riots occurs, why hatred spreads, and how to solve it.
In the beginning of this movie, the main character (prisoner no.77), an ex-journalist who hopes to take his job back, participates in a experiment in a mock prison for 2 weeks in order to record down this story, and publish it on the newspaper. Furthermore, he taunts and insults mock prison guards who are also the participants in this experiment so that he can make this story more interesting. However, things become worse and worse...
I am really surprised that this movie doesn't either glorify main characters, nor malign bad guys. Everyone has their characteristics, and their interaction is cruel but practical. We can see how the whole thing becomes worse. Don't stereotype this German story as a reflection of Nazism, because this movie is a warning for every culture which the power is overused. I am really glad that German dares to make this movie without too much clichés and fancy tricks. If you are tired of clichés in Hollywood films, this is a great movie for you.
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