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Overall Rating
4.31

Awesome: 30.77%
Worth A Look69.23%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 8 user ratings


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Experiment, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Dynamics."
5 stars

Oliver Hirschbiegel’s über-intense German thriller begins as an experiment of a mock prison system, where 20 volunteers will be divided into either prisoners or prison guards for a total of two-weeks.

(Our protagonist, an erstwhile taxifahrer is also an undercover reporter, which allows opportunity for an appropriate blend of low-key technology.) The observation is for the measure of dynamics — how the assigned roles of each individual will lead them to act in their controlled environments. What begins as an almost predictable clash of wills, both a headstrong “prisoner” and “guard,” are the obvious variables that the scientists need in order to have authentic results, takes a turn for the worse when a number of the prison guards form a dominant inside group by ignoring the pre-established set of rules, believing that it is within the best interest of the experiment. Stripped down to the essentials, the film is an excellent exploration of a psychologically-controlled power struggle. As the effect of de-individualization takes place, the level of inhumanity towards these otherwise innocent participants proportionally increases, forcing the larger separation of the two sides being tested. And as the control on the research is lost, the escalating tensions generously ignited, what follows is probably the closest parallel to being in a pressure-cooker. The militaristic cadence of the film adds an interesting structure by revolving in a center-to-left, left-to-center, center-to-right format. Those flanking movements create rhythm that once underway, doesn’t let up. And even though the reaction culled from the intensity and outrage over things gone awry cannot be labeled polemic for matters of bias, any reaction that evokes such strong feelings is aptly an achievement. With Moritz Bleibtreu, Christian Berkel, Justus von Dohnànyi and Oliver Stokowski.

[Masterpiece.]

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6140&reviewer=172
originally posted: 10/04/02 16:14:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2002 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2002 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/24/06 AJ Muller Disturbing and intense work - don't know if I "liked" it, but sure as hell respect it 4 stars
11/21/05 ken madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/25/05 K. Sear Starts out ver cliche but steadily ramps up until the atmosphere is rather chilling. 4 stars
6/13/04 mans0n really nice job. one of the best films ive seen in a while. 4 stars
3/04/04 nniedzielski THIS is what a thriller should be like -- smart, terrifying, and, how about, thrilling 4 stars
8/10/03 Danny Eltringham This film really needed to be made. I'm glad that it was not at all a dissapointment. 5 stars
10/10/02 mr. Pink Thrilling! But it has a few flaws..... 4 stars
10/03/02 Big B good stuff. moritz is awesome again. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Sep-2002 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jul-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  07-Nov-2002




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