Director: Paul Scheuring
Starring: Adrien Brody, Forrest Whitaker, Maggie Grace
Two Oscar winners collide in a remake of the controversial 2001 German film Das Experiment. The story follows Travis (Adrien Brody), a man in need of some quick cash in order to travel with his new girlfriend (Maggie Grace). To get it, he takes part in a psychological behaviour study, set in a prison where 26 men are divided into two groups – guards and prisoners, with neither side allowed to be violent toward the other. As the "guards", led by the increasingly sadistic Barris (Forrest Whitaker), begin to take liberties with their power, a war brews and Travis's quick payday turns into a battle for survival. The film is an interesting thriller with a novel concept, which in turn is given some plausibility due to it being loosely based on a real-life American psychological experiment held in the 1970s. The film also benefits from exactly the right tone, thanks to the director Scheuring, who also created the TV series Prison Break. Ultimately, its message, about the ease with which man can turn into an animal under the right circumstances, is lost amid a flurry of very violent confrontations and prison-movie clichés. The real enjoyment is to be found from the principle actors, both of whom are on dazzling form and add A-list quality to the piece. Whitaker delivers the intensity that has become his trademark, while Brody is the anti-hero who manages to evoke real empathy in even the most graphic of scenarios. Ultimately, The Experiment is an average, by-the-numbers movie lifted by two brilliant leads.
Updated: May 19, 2011 04:00 AM