The Experiment is a psychological thriller about a group of men who answer an ad to participate in a psychological study. They are promised $1,000 a day to participate for 14 days and that it will be safe.
The men are driven out to a prison where they are assigned the roles of guard or prisoner. The prisoners are given numbers, their new names for the next two weeks. The guards are given rules that the prisoners must obey. If they don’t the guards have 30 minutes to punish them appropriately without violence, yet they are not told what punishment to dole out. If the guards fail to punish the prisoners within the time limit a red light will go off, the experiment is over and no one gets paid.
Adrien Brody plays Travis a very peaceful unemployed man who is just trying to make enough money so he can travel to India to take some time and think about life. Forest Whitaker is Barris, a henpecked forty-something who lives with his verbally abusive mother. Travis is assigned the role as prisoner and Barris is a guard. Both men will change a lot over the course of a few short days.
This movie is based on the real life infamous Stanford prison experiment, which at one time was deemed ethical. The American Psychiatric Association has since decided that any that research performed must not physically or mentally harm the participants.
This movie is gritty and gripping but not overly so. I’m kinda glad of that. They could’ve gone really horrific with this but it wasn’t necessary. It doesn’t take much for us to understand what’s going on.
Forrest Whitaker was great as always and it’s interesting to watch his transformation from the beginning of the movie until the end.