Genre - Thriller, Drama,
Released in 2001, Das Experiment could have very well been the concept of a reality show. 20 volunteers are selected for a group-behavior oriented psychology experiment where they are divided into 2 groups, 8 guards and 12 prisoners in a mock jail, and are to role-play their parts under clear guidelines or rules, for 14 days. Their reward - 4000 Deutschmarks. A good enough sum to attract volunteers from all walks of life.
Based on Mario Giordano's novel Black Box and directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, the movie borrows it's thematic elements from a real-life controversial social experiment known as the Stanford Prison experiment. Carried out in 1971 and funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the goal of the social experiment was to study the psychological effects of becoming either a prison-guard or an inmate in an effort to better understand abusive prison situations. The experiment was terminated in 6 days as things started to go out of control. The movie has also inspired a Adrien Brody starring straight-to-video American remake in 2010. I often wonder why Hollywood goes about messing up good original content with their awful remakes. It probably has to do something with exceptions like the Oscar winning 'The Departed', remake of the Hong-Kong masterpiece 'Infernal Affairs'. The Experiment (2010), sadly, belongs with the majority.
|Moritz Bleibtreu as Tarek|
|Out of Control|
Though not path-breaking or ground-breaking cinema by any means, Das Experiment is still a very compelling watch that is slick in it's execution and is full of vitality, and presents a very fresh and interesting new perspective on the interplay between rules, duty, desire, anger, fear and seduction of power.