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DVD Reviews:  The Experiment

The Final Say!

Feature Score:

Reviewed by Yianni Pak
Distributed by:
The AV Channel
Running Time: 114 Minutes

OK before I go any further I would like to make it clear that if sweaty naked Germans offend you, this film is one to be steered well clear of. However it would be a damned shame for anyone to miss out on The Experiment, because it is, quite frankly, a corker of a movie. 

A pair of scientists orchestrates an experiment involving twenty men and a simulated prison. Exactly what hypothesis it is that they are testing through said experiment remains a bit of a mystery, but essentially the twenty men are divided into two groups comprising of eight “guards” and twelve “prisoners”. These two groups are then thrown into the simulation with a few instructions, including “no violence allowed”, and basically left to their own devices. 

As would be expected, things start to turn pear-shaped pretty darn quick, with the “prisoners” not taking their roles very seriously, the “guards” soon learning that their power can be abused, and the scientists learning that perhaps they cannot control an environment as completely as they originally thought. 

It’s actually quite reminiscent of the classic Lord of the Flies, what with the establishment of a defined hierarchy both in the guards’ and prisoners’ camps, and the power struggle that occurs between the “leaders” of each group. The Experiment is most definitely worth watching, choosing to explore the darker sides of the human psyche and the effects of giving too much power to people who are not psychologically equipped to use it responsibly. 

The video quality is excellent, nice and sharp and with practically no dust. There is a little bit of aliasing, which is not surprising given that most of the film takes place in an environment full of straight metal bars. Overall, however, the picture is very nice indeed, with nothing major to complain about. 

The 2.0 audio is pretty stock standard. The film is in German, with English subtitles. Everything sounds crisp and clean, and there didn’t seem to be any audio issues to contend with. The Experiment is essentially a human drama type of film, there are no explosions to shake your couch across the room. 

The extra features are not too bad, but nothing earth-shattering. There is a collection of short interviews with cast members and crew, which offer a little bit of insight into the story development for those who are interested. Also included is about ten minutes of behind the scenes footage. This footage has no voice-overs or interviews at all; nor are there any subtitles. It’s just some footage of the film being made. Interesting if kind of pointless. Rounding out the extras are three theatrical trailers (2 German, 1 English) and some previews for other Madman films. 

The Experiment is a really great film which makes a great attempt to explore themes of corruption, bonding, and the illusion of control. HIGHLY recommended.

The Experiment Features

  • Interviews with cast and director.

  • Behind the scenes footage

  • Theatrical trailers.

  • Madman propaganda


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