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Story

Inspired by a famous 1971 psychological experiment, Oliver Hirschbiegel's German-language movie The Experiment finds a group of 20 volunteers randomly divided into 12 prisoners and eight guards and asked to play out their roles for a fortnight while scientists study their reactions. A conflict arises between undercover reporter Fahd (Moritz Bleibtreu), a con with a hidden agenda, and the apparently mild-mannered Berus (Justus von Dohnanyi), a guard with a megalomaniac streak. The film begins as a psychological drama as ordinary people settle into the game, with joking displays of resistance by the "prisoners" greeted with increasing brutality from the "guards," but detours into suspense and horror as Fahd, who needs the experiment to get out of hand in order to make his story more saleable, deliberately ratchets up the tension between the factions only to see the situation spiral nightmarishly out of control as various test subjects in both camps edge closer to snapping.

With a terrific display of ensemble acting and unforced use of the popular claustrophobic semi-documentary look, Hirschbiegel's movie takes its time to get underway, with apparently irrelevant cutaways to Fahd's outside girlfriend (Maren Eggert), but works up to a powerful second half that delivers a sustained symphony of psychological and physical anguish. --Kim Newman

DVD Features

  • Widescreen
  • Dolby

Cast

Moritz BleibtreuTarek Fahd - Prisoner #77
Christian BerkelStenhoff - Prisoner #38
Oliver StokowskiSchütte - Prisoner #82
Wotan Wilke MöhringJoe - Prisoner #69
Stephan SzaszPrisoner #53
Olat DalPrisoner #40
Danny RichterPrisoner #21
Ralf MüllerPrisoner #15
Markus RudolfPrisoner #74
Peter FieselerPrisoner #11
Thorsten DerschPrisoner #86 (as Thorsten J.H. Dersch)
Sven GreferPrisoner #94
Justus von DohnanyiBerus - Guard (as Justus von Dohnànyi)
Nicki von TempelhoffKamps - Guard
Timo DierkesEckert - Guard
Antoine Monot Jr.Bosch - Guard
Lars GärtnerRenzel - Guard
Faith AkinTaxi Driver / The Voices (voice)

Havenssong watched The Experiment
  • Genre: Thriller Movies
  • Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Producer: Columbia/Tri-Star
  • Length: 114 min
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
  • Theatrical Release
    North AmericaSep 20, 2002
    EuropeMar 22, 2002
    JapanJun 22, 2002
    AustraliaSep 26, 2002
  • Ratings
    North AmericaR
    Europe18
    JapanPG-12
    AustraliaMA
  • Blu-ray Release
    North AmericaSep 21, 2010
  • DVD Release
    North AmericaJul 1, 2003
  • Also known as:
  • Es in Japan
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