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.
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
It's important not to think of this as prisoner and guard in a real prison. The important issue is the metaphor prisoner and guard. What does it mean to be a prisoner? What does it mean to ... See full summary »
In an effort to promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell sets out on a road trip with his younger brother. However, the idealism of being on the road wears off and it quickly proves to ... See full summary »
Kyle Patrick Alvarez
A guard incorrectly attributes the now instantly recognizable walk of the Frankenstein Monster to his first appearance in the 1931 film Frankenstein. The Monster didn't walk with his arms outstretched in front of him until Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man over a decade later. This is a common mistake. See more »
Absolutely gripping and one of the all time most difficult movies to watch
This is perhaps one of the best movies I have seen in 2015 and yet I would think twice before watching it again. The Stanford Prison experiment is a taut and intriguing drama hat manages to thrill you for most of its run time as well as making you terribly uneasy as you ponder as to why people behave as they do in the movie. Inspire by the real life prison experiment conducted at Stanford University in 1971 using college students where some would be assigned as guards and some prisoners and were stationed in a mock prison for 14 days within the Stanford University premises itself. It proved to be one of the most disastrous and widely criticized psychology experiments ever conducted by mankind and was shut down in just 6 days.
The movie doesn't spend too much time on buildup as you start feeling the claustrophobia and sense of loss of freedom quite early on. The script has been top notch as well as the direction. The best part about the script that I loved was that it remained truthful to the actual events and the documentary style cinematography added so much realism to the experience.
The other impressive aspect of this movie is the acting. The casting doesn't involve any big superstar names, rather most of them are well known in the indie and television scenes. Phillip Zambardo's character development was pulled off by Billy Crudup with absolute finesse while Ezra Miller and Thomas Mann left a lasting impression with the devolution of their respective characters. The rest of the cast, especially the ones who played the prisoners were great as well, as they were constantly able to maintain the sense of helplessness and psychological deterioration throughout. The main star of the film, however, is Michael Angarano. His character is what everybody would love to hate. I used to remember Angarano as this charming kid in Almost Famous and Lords of Dogtown and I was quite shocked to witness the whole sadistic and borderline sociopath side of him.
The only shortcoming I felt was the overall pacing. The movie slowed down at some points; especially during the first half (I am not going to spoil anything) and it could've done a better editing job. Some of the cast, especially on the guard side could've used a bit more screen time since the camera was almost entirely focused on Michael Angarano. However, this doesn't diminish the quality of movie in any way. It's a great albeit cringe worthy study of human psyche and the movie will leave a long trail of questions for you to think about.
Overall, The Stanford Prison Experiment is undoubtedly a great cinematic achievement both in terms of visual style, storyline, acting and direction. This is not exactly a family movie or something you want to watch with your girlfriend and definitely not a feel-good experience, but if you are a fan of psychological thrillers, then this film will give you a run for your money. My IMDb rating is 8.1/10.
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