Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Das Experiment

Germany 2001

An artificial prison has been built as part of a psychological experiment
(a la 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment) in which 20 male participants are asked to take roles as either prisoners or guards. As psychologists watch the results unfold, our focus is on a former journalist who was intrigued by the experiment and volunteered to be one of the prisoners, thinking there might be a big story in it for him. But he ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for...

This film builds tension robustly. Unsettlingly vague character development seers a suspenseful climax that scabs over with a fulfilling ending and an eccentric romance that never gets in the way of the films intense structuring but only feeds the nail biting into a gnawing. Great acting, intriguing storyline. Minor flaws but without them, the climax would not have been as big of a tidal wave impact. Flaws were actually gifts to lay out the tension thicker. Get it, see it. Love it.

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