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
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.