Proof Review: The Experiment (2010)

Release Date
September 21, 2010
Director
Paul T. Scheurings
Screenplay
Paul T. Scheurings
Based On Film By
Oliver Hirschbiegel
Distributed By
Stage 6 Film
Budget
$21.8 million
Drama, Thriller
Rated R for strong disturbing violence including a rape, language, some sexual content and nudity
96 minutes

The Experiment

Based in a novel, a 2001 German film, a 2002 BBC documentary, and an episode of Veronica Mars, The Experiment is a psychological thriller that delves into the minds of two different types of men, those in control and those under control. A group of men are acquired for an experiment with no real purpose. Half the men are “prisoners” while the other half become the “guards”. The guards have set rules to force upon prisoners, with any physical violence voiding the experiment and the paycheck that coincides.

Adrien Brody continues his Indy film pageantry (Splice, Predators) as one of the men involved in the experiment, becoming the leader of the prisoners while the flourishing Forest Whitaker takes the reigns as the mentally unstable leader of the guards. Much like his role in Repo Men, Whitaker proves that playing the villain comes naturally to him. Among the cast is the always violent and vulgar Cam Gigandet as well as Sunshine Cleaning‘s Clifton Collins, Jr., making the film feel more legitimate.

The plot remains rather predictable and eventually covers just about every aspect of human relationships that you could think of in an hour and a half. The Experiment succeeds in evoking emotion effectively, forcing a turn of the head when Whitaker instigates shaving Brody’s head for disobedience and eventually getting all of the guards to urinate on Brody. Much of the film, however, remains unbelievable, like the depravity of Gigandet’s character and trying to rape one of the male prisoners when his libido catches up with him during his “strenuous” two weeks as a guard. Ultimately, the guards take to physical violence, and when the experiment does not end because of this, you are left to question what kept you viewing the film to the end.

Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker are truly enough to make the film interesting, but if you lose their star power, the film ends up just another episode of Veronica Mars (minus the beautiful Kristen Bell). Still, The Experiment lacks a certain grit that would have transformed the film into something more like The Machinist, which Adrien Brody could absolutely pull off. Instead, the film tries its damnedest to be a “Hollywood” type film and becomes irrelevant. If you have not yet experienced any form of the story associated with The Experiment, it would not hurt to catch a viewing of the film, as the plot is somewhat original, save for in the aforementioned media listed above.

 

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