Monday, December 7, 2015


Edited & Directed By: Kyle Patrick Alvarez 
Written By: Tim Talbott 
Cinematography By: Jas Shelton 

Cast: Billy Crudup, Nelsan Ellis, Ezra Miller, Michael Angarano, Ki Hong Lee, Nicholas Braun, Matt Bennett, Tye Sheridan, Thomas Mann, Logan Miller, Olivia Thrilby, Kier Gilchrist, Moises Arias, Gaius Charles, Johnny Simmons, Jack Kilmer

*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review

Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

The one thing that stayed on my mind, Is that while the film is sympathetic to the characters who are the inmates and certainly their real life counter parts. It is what Nelsan Ellis' character struck me that these are some Mama's boy college kids being forced to actually take directions and that if this was real it would be much worse and that they might be crybaby's now while that isn’t true and there are plenty of indignities presented in real prisons. Also prisoners in real prisons have more rights. The guards I am sure are sadistic, but are they really as hardcore?

His character was interesting as he is the former ex-con in this experiment, who essentially becomes what he hates as he is harder and unforgiving from a overseer standpoint. While he knows what he is doing is wrong. He also seems to resent these kids. As they don't necessarily know the cruelties he had to face. Though we all can survive different situations we all have breaking points as to what we can take. His hair happened to be harder as he was used to a harder life.

What work is how the film becomes a psychological horror film, but when you really think about it ll the stakes are more suggested. These men are being broken and tortured by fear and their own minds as. There is violence but most of the consequences are more suggested than anything else.

Now what really amazed me about Michael Angarano's performance is how his character can easily turn off his sadistic personality towards the end. I was also fascinated as his character is never really physically violent but just by the suggestion of it the prisoners always fall In Line when he is involved. His isn't the only performance that i felt was a standout.

While everyone is good the other performance that made a mark was Ezra miller as the rebel of the group. Who at first seems to be the one who won't break, but we watch slowly as he is taken down bit by bit. By he powers that be. It is truly heartbreaking and the eye opener of the film. We watch and they break down others, but his seems to be he major tragic. Mr. Miller always brings a certain charming wildness to his roles. Here is no exception. As he usually seems to play his roles like the way he seems to take them. You never know what is coming. Next. How he is going to play the role. He never phones it in and even when he is subtle there seems to been an extravagance.

I really expected to like the film more as the cast is filled with actors who have populated some of my favorite films usually co-starring with one another. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, RED STATE, SKY HIGH, THE MAZE RUNNER, IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, ME EARL AND THE DYING GIRL.

I appreciated that we see the doctors slowly losing it and being affected by the experiment other film versions based in this story. They always tend to leave them out of it.

There are two other films depicting the Stanford prison experiment.

The German movie from 2001 'DAS EXPERIMENT' with Moritz Bleibtreu and the american remake from 2010 movie 'THE EXPERIMENT' with Adrien Brody and Forrest Whitaker are also based on the 'Stanford experiment'

Now you can be shocked and understand what can happen if anyone is given absolute power in situations. You have to question the professors as they watch these cruelties and allow it and try to be indifferent when it is obviously affecting them. Even when another professor questions the ethics and construction of the experiment. Asking the missing element that is needed for a fair assessment.

Based on Dr. Zimbardo's real life psychological study: 'The Stanford Prison Experiment'.

The film is good enough. it seems to want to make a statement or shock and expose the audience. Just as the characters in the film eventually are shocked at how easily the men playing the guards lose their inhumanity and let power corrupt. The lens playing prisoners learn what it is truly like to be victimized. Which works as the guards quickly become what they mostly are against in life and the kids who end up as inmates who have been taken care of most of their lives. Learn what its like not only to not have privilege, but in a smaller way understand what prisoners actually go through.

Unfortunately the film isn't preaching to the converted as most in the audience probably know this. I am happy the film opens the eyes to aide once members who might not know this and is their introduction to this.

According to Zimbardo's book, he invited his girlfriend to the observation room to show her how well the experiment was going. She was the person who told him that he had stopped seeing the subjects as actual people, and that he had obviously gone too far. She demanded that he stop the experiment immediately.

The film proves it's point and succeeds at what it tries to set out to do. Though it doesn't quite hammer home it's points. It fills scenes with tension, but in the end it feels empty as it leads up to something that by the end feels empty. So while the experiment at the heart of the film is a smashing success In ways that weren't expected. It fails in reasoning and meaning.

It keeps an intensity throughout and yet has no real payoff it just ends. 

Grade: C+

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